Canadian

Marketplace: Caribou Cabin

I’m thrilled to share news of the recent launch of Caribou Cabin – a Canadian company specializing in well-designed and beautifully manufactured chalkboards, corkboards, whiteboards, and pinboards. Organization and art all in one item? Yes, please!

One of the reasons that I’m eager to write about Caribou Cabin is because I have known one of the owners – Tim – since highschool (aka – years and years) and when he emailed to let me know about his newest venture, I was happy to help spread the word.

Each board is manufactured in the company’s Toronto workshop, and great care is taken to design and manufacture high-quality products that suit individual styles and homes. Frames come in multiple finishes for every board category, but you’ll see that (as per usual) I lean toward the white, black, and grey options.

magnetic chalkboard (top: black frame, bottom: white frame)

corkboards

magnetic whiteboards

linen pinboards

Whether you’re in the market for a chalkboard, corkboard, whiteboard, or pinboard, you can browse the selection at Caribou Cabin, choose your size, select your frame, and easily place your order online. What’s not to love?

Stay tuned for another Caribou Cabin feature soon as I’d like to give you an up-close look at the linen pinboard that I have in my own home. Spoiler alert – it’s lovely!

Cars: Review of the Audi Q5

Have I caught your attention with the title? Audi. Q5. Who’s excited for a little car review? Honestly, I am most definitely thrilled to be writing this post about my recent experience with the Audi Q5 – aka #WhiteCabanaDreamCar.

I’ve been keen on the Q5 for a while now, but it hasn’t always been that way.

A long(er) while ago, you may remember that I became pretty obsessed with the Fiat 500. I loved the look of this little Italian go-getter, but eventually my want/need for this little one faded. I rented it for a weekend, and while I enjoyed driving it around Toronto, it barely fit my luggage, and it was quite a noisy highway ride.

In recent years, it was the Audi Q7 that caught my attention, and I wrote about it here. What a beautiful car. It’s sleek, stylish, and roomy. In fact, once I saw it up-close, I realized it might be a touch too roomy for my liking. With no children in tow, I don’t have a need for its third row of seats.

Enter the Q5. I kept seeing this car on the road, and I kept liking it. And liking it some more. When I drove home from Montebello, Quebec, I spotted many on the highway, and each time I saw one, I thought, “now that’s a nice looking car,” sometimes I said it to myself before I was close enough to confirm that the car I was eyeing was in fact an Audi Q5.

Given that I grew up with an Audi 5000, I have fond memories of the Audi brand. My parents bought our grey Audi 5000 at the Audi factory Ingolstadt, Germany, then shipped it over to Toronto way back in 1985! We traveled everywhere in that car as a family. When my Dad finally retired it in 2006 after 21 years and 344,996kms, it was a pretty sad day for all of us. We all knew it was at the end of its life (21 years!), but it was emotional to see it go. Is that weird? To be so emotionally attached to a car? Hope I’m not the only one!

Dad and our Audi 5000 in Ingolstadt, Germany
(my sister and I are in the backseat – camera shy, I guess)

Okay, so we weren’t too camera shy. My sister and I at a basket shop in Germany. I’m flexing my muscles by carrying the biggest basket I could find, I guess!

So this brings me to my recent, super up-close encounter with the Audi Q5. The AudiKW team generously loaned me a white Q5 for a couple of days of adventuring around the Waterloo region (see #WhiteCabanaxAudi on Instagram for a few more photos). What a treat! I was happy to explore the white, sleek AudiKW showroom while I waited for my car. While dealerships can be easily intimidating for someone like me (who knows very little about cars), I was pleasantly surprised by everyone’s welcoming attitudes. I felt comfortable.

I met with Deon and Robert who set me up with the Q5. Robert – a brand specialist – walked me through all the features of the Audi Q5 Komfort. This model is the lowest end of the Audi Q5 spectrum, so some elements I really liked, and others would come in a higher end model (like the Progressive or the Technik).

When I got in the car, the first things I noticed were the driver’s seat and the size of the front window. The driver’s seat was made for me (or so I like to think). It was comfortable from the beginning right up until I dropped off the car. The front window panel was large and free of obstructions. I know this should always be the case, but it isn’t. Sometimes the frame is too thick or the rear view mirror is bulky. I also loved that the windshield wipers tucked away beautifully – they weren’t visible when not in use. Great design detail!

I love the design of these mirrors.

I currently drive a 2004 Toyota Rav4 – which I really do love – but it doesn’t have the modern features of new cars, so it took me a little while to get used to all the tech in the Audi Q5. Okay – not that long, but you know what I mean. In the Audi Q5, I could actually plug in my phone and connect it to bluetooth. I know many new cars have this feature, but my Rav4 doesn’t, so it took a moment to get used to it. Once I did – let me tell you – I made as many hands-free phone calls as I could while I was driving! I get amused so darn easily!

I think I only managed to use about one or two of these buttons! I’m pretty tech-savvy, but not when it comes to cars!

The cargo space is decent in the Komfort (26.8 cubic feet), but I definitely noticed that it’s smaller than the space in my Rav4 (about 38 cubic feet). The seats fold down, of course, which helps for large loads, but it would be something I’d have to consider and test out before I’d purchase it as I do end up carrying large loads on random trips in and out of town. The cargo space in the Q5 is tidy with a hidden spare tire and a privacy cover, too.

 

Great design – everything has its place!

Because I live in Uptown Waterloo and normally walk or bike to the places I need to go, I forced myself to venture out a bit for a longer drive to get the full experience of this car. I took the highway-route to Cambridge so I could go fast! FUN! The pick-up in the Q5 was amazing, and my comfort level remained high! The car drove smoothly and quietly, and I definitely liked driving fast (within speed limits, of course)!

When I was going over the features with Robert at the dealership, he told me that the car can adjust to various driving modes – dynamic, comfort, auto, etc. I opted for dynamic for the majority of the time because the ride felt fast and smooth. Dynamic mode has tight steering and more aggressive gear shifting. Comfort, on the other hand, has softer, easier steering and less aggressive gear shifting.

Look at the little lights underneath the handles – love them!

Having the Audi Q5 in my possession made my birthday celebrations extra fun! In fact, since my parents came for a visit, they, too, experienced the luxurious drive! This was especially fun for my dad who recreated his Audi pose from 1985. 

Notice my approach to parking? The farther and emptier, the better!

Over the course of my Audi Q5 ownership, I drove as much as I possibly could. In addition to driving to and around Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo, and St. Jacobs, I drove over to the sweet town of Elora for a birthday dinner celebration. On the way, I stopped by the Montrose kissing bridge – the last covered bridge in Ontario, and the oldest of its kind in Canada.

And I also stopped by the castle-house on Middlebrook Road (between Montrose and Elora).  While in Elora, I checked out the progress of the Elora Mill. Construction is well underway, and I’m very much looking forward to a return trip here to eat, stay, and relax! It’s going to add so much more prettiness to the already-pretty town of Elora. As you can see in these photos, parking the Q5 was a breeze. Backing into grassy areas and stone-covered roads was a-okay!

For an SUV, the Audi Q5 is extremely fuel efficient. I love this aspect of the car! Apparently, it’s good to go 1000km on a tank of gas. Isn’t that amazing for an SUV?

I took on several passengers over the course of my mini-ownership. Every passenger loved the experience. All agreed that the car was definitely sleek and luxurious and beautifully designed. Back-seat passengers felt that the ride was spacious and comfortable and enjoyed the adjustable back seats as well as the back-seat air conditioning controls.

As a driver, I got easily used to having the control buttons at my fingertips on the console. While some passengers assumed that the navigation screen was touch-screen, it wasn’t. This didn’t bother me at all. I really liked having the circle button on the console to control music, phone calls, settings, etc. It was very easy to operate and comfortable because I didn’t need to extend my arm for touch screen.

While I did absolutely enjoy the Audi Q5 Komfort, and my interest in purchasing one has been confirmed because of this recent driving experience, there are some features that did not come with this model that I would want. My top priority would be a sunroof. I love having a sunroof in my Rav4, and I would definitely want a Q5 that had one. The model that I drove didn’t have all the snazzy sensors and cameras that I would want in a new car. I’d definitely upgrade to include these as I think they’re especially handy for parking and highway driving.

If you can’t already tell, overall, I have become more attached to the Audi Q5 after this driving experience. It’s a beautiful vehicle from every angle, and it made me feel safe, happy, and secure. I also loved walking up to it knowing that I got to get in the driver’s seat. This car definitely suits my style and personality!

Do I still think that this is the car for me? You bet!

Unless, maybe, I should try out the Audi TT first? 🙂

Many thanks to MC and the AudiKW team for sponsoring this post. All opinions and photos are my own.

p.s. Outfit details: jeans – Joe Fresh (last year), top – Kate Spade, eyeglasses – Polette, sunglasses – Rayban, purse – Longchamp.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Travel: Terre Bleu, Milton, Ontario

If you’ve ever driven from Waterloo to Toronto – and if you’re anything like me – then you’ve probably uttered a few some many curse words as you’ve driven through Milton on the 401. Let me correct myself – as you’ve been stopped in traffic on the 401 in Milton. Ugh. Milton. Up until a few weeks ago, all I had really known about Milton was the traffic I experienced on the 401.

But, I’m happy to share that I’ve found something glorious about Milton (and Halton Region) – the Terre Bleu lavender farm. Hooray! It’s absolutely lovely, and I encourage you to visit! Get off that darn highway and enjoy the serene beauty of the lavender farm! (Warning – this post is infused with hints of purple and yellow.)

Tim and I drove out to Terre Bleu on the Canada Day long weekend for a tour with Terre Bleu’s owner, Ian Baird. Our tour was fun, educational, and full of beauty.

Terre Bleu’s fields grow several varieties of both English and French lavender. English lavender, in brief, is excellent for its scent, while the French lavender is used in culinary endeavors. The English lavender was just coming out when we visited the farm, and the French hadn’t yet shown its colours.

Some people like white…and others like purple. Ian and I bonded over our passion for (a single) colour.

Much of the property is – of course – filled with rows upon rows of beautiful lavender. But Ian has also done an impressive job of embracing, promoting, and fostering art on the farm. The yellow door (that you may have seen floating around social media) provides the perfect photo op, but it is even more cool in person. A random door in the middle of lavender rows. Loved it!

Inspired by the quote (written by Ian’s then-10-year-old daughter) noted above the door, Tim and I left our worries behind us as we walked through the yellow door. We found joy on the other side!

In addition to the lavender fields, Terre Bleu raises honeybees, has an herb garden (which transforms into a great spot for lavender-infused cocktails), and has a beautiful forest and trail. In the forest, along the “Yellow Bench Trail,” you’ll find a wood installation perfect for a conversation circle and – as the name suggests – a yellow bench. But, of course!

Terre Bleu’s honeybees are hard at work! In the photo below, Ian is showing us the old bee keeping house in the distillery – the room where they turn lavender into oils. Those copper vessels, which are used in the essential oil-making process, were brought in from Portugal because of their high quality and production capability.

Before you think that Terre Bleu is all-purple-all-the-time, check this out:

Great, right? This massive, white bench overlooks the equestrian area of the farm, and its design mimics that of the main store/barn structure. No detail was left to chance on this farm! Each design choice was made with much consideration.

And more white came through in the “white” Melissa lavender. In fact, although it looks white here, its true colour will be pink once it’s fully in bloom. (But let’s just pretend it’s white, okay?)

The Terre Bleu team harvests the lavender during the year and transforms it into all sorts of beautiful products – sachets, dried lavender, lavender salt, lavender essential oils, soaps, and more. The white-washed shop is definitely worth a visit. Pick up a treat before you leave, including, perhaps, a scoop of lavender ice cream! I picked up a jar of honey – it’s made with the farm’s lavender and hard-working honeybees! I couldn’t resist!

So, next time you give Milton a passing glance, I encourage you to stop and find your way to Terre Bleu for some inspiration!

See more snapshots of our day at Terre Bleu over on Tim’s blog, Design Maze.

Thanks again, Ian, for the super tour! I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the development of your lovely lavender farm! Milton is lucky to have you!
Photos by Tim and me.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Friday Five: The Maple Leaf

Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday tomorrow, and cities, towns, villages, and hamlets are all preparing to celebrate with food and fireworks. Red and white is dominating stores, squares, and supermarkets, and Canadians are eager to celebrate!

Since the maple leaf is one of Canada’s most prominent symbols, I’m sharing five versions of it from five Canadian companies.

diamond maple leaf brooch, Birks

maple leaf bookends, Chapters Indigo

Canada – True North art print, Penny Paper Co.

Canada bucket and shovel, Canadian Tire

pure silver coin, Canada Post

I hope all my Canadian readers enjoy a wonderful long weekend! Happy #Canada150!

Design: McKinley Burkart Architecture

I don’t know how Instagram algorithms work, but sometimes the fancy behind-the-scenes technology really works in my favour. Recently, Instagram introduced me to the work of McKinley Burkart. This architecture and interior design firm, which has studios in Calgary and Vancouver, has an extensive portfolio of beautiful restaurants, retail, residential, and work spaces.

Bruce Lifestyle Store

M-Tech

Market

Village Ice Cream

Earls Westhills

Elbow Park House

The Shore

IHS

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Garden: Let’s Get Growing

I don’t have a lot of garden space to work with – or time to tend to it, for that matter – but I do enjoy a bit of gardening, and in usual-Jordana-style, I like to keep things simple. In my back garden, I have a ton of hostas. They’re incredibly easy, they grow like champs, and they’re pretty. I also have herbs in planters, and this year, I’m trying out spinach, too.

In the front, I get a ton of sun, so I plant my tomatoes there, and they produce like crazy! I plant red geraniums in my planters because they flourish in the sunshine. Geraniums always remind me of my time in Switzerland, so I’m happy to have them outside my home.  I was considering white begonias this year because they looked so pretty at the market, but I’m sure the sun would have burned them, since they prefer shade.

And the new addition to my garden are a few peony plants that I split and transplanted from my parents’ garden last year. The buds are still quite little, so I’m not certain they’ll be fruitful this year, but I’m hopeful they’ll produce beautiful blooms for years to come.

I just love that the garden can produce so much goodness. After trudging through such a long winter, I love seeing spring surrounding my home.

And speaking of beautiful homes in spring, here are a few that have caught my eye.

the gorgeous home of Canadian blogger Monika Hibbs

Giannetti Home – Atherton

Claus Dalby

Save

Save

Save

Press: My Home in Style at Home Magazine

By now you may know that my home was featured in the June issue of Style at Home magazine. I’m so so so proud of this achievement, and it is truly an incredible honor to be in the presence of such amazing Canadian designers, stylists, and bloggers in this issue. I love this Canadian publication because it features designs that readers can recreate. On top of all of this, I always learn something new.

It was a pleasure to work with photographer Donna Griffith; stylists Morgan Lindsay and Stacy Begg; and author Bethany Little. As the article was being prepared, I also connected with a couple of additional fact-checkers on the Style at Home team, and our interactions always made me smile. One conversation included repetitions of the question “And it’s white?” The fact-checker asked this question because she hadn’t yet seen photos of my home, but was asking me questions about the items and designs. I couldn’t stop laughing. “Yes, yes, everything is white,” I told her.

I hope you’ve been able to pick up a copy of this very special issue. Here’s a peek into the feature, and you can read it in full online at Style at Home.

 

    

And a few truths…if you’re curious:

  • I do walk briskly to and from work…with a backpack.
  • I definitely do call my bed “my princess bed.”
  • I absolutely adore my couch, and I would buy it again in an instant.
  • The trio of white artwork in the living room was made my my three nephews as a house-warming present.
  • The Style at Home team didn’t actually rearrange too many things. Except for a few items (e.g., flowers, silver platter on coffee table, marble tray with lemons, lettuce in the sink, tea towel), everything is mine. I loved that they worked with my own items. It wasn’t what I was expecting to happen on photoshoot day.
  • I had so much fun when the crew came for the photoshoot.

Thanks for reading, everyone! I’m taking tomorrow off from the blog, so I’ll leave you this whole weekend to read the feature!

Save

Save

Event: Terroir Symposium, Toronto

Food makes any event pretty darn great, doesn’t it? Well, what about an event that showcases the best-of-the-best in culinary gems? Count me in! Today, I’m sharing news from the Terroir Symposium. Founded by Arlene Stein, the symposium brings together chefs, pastry chefs, food enthusiasts, publishers, bloggers, and more to showcase and share the achievements of Canada’s culinary industry. This year, Terroir was held at Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). In short – the event was memorable!

I arrived around lunch, and easily made my way around the food booths. Lunch was presented by Ocean Wise, and each chef prepared a dish to highlight Canada’s sustainable seafood offerings. I was in fish food heaven!

Hor mok, steamed white fish from Georgian Bay, and rice in a banana leaf, from Chef Noureen Feerasta of Rickshaw Bar

crispy fried pickerel wings and cheeks with thai larb, from Chef Kristin Donovan of Hooked   

Acadian Shortnose Sturgeon Toasts, from Chef Katie Venables Lloyd of lbs

albacore tuna donburi, from Chef Michael Hunter of Antler

Water and wine flowed.

S. Pellegrino – an event sponsor (and one of my faves!)

I met up with my friends from Langdon Hall for some bonding over food.

me, Anna, Chef Jason Bangerter, and Franco Stalteri (of Charlies Burgers)

Mingling and desserts pair very nicely together, so that’s where we headed post-fish! The desserts were so beautifully presented in the centre court of the AGO. Were they delicious? Of course they were! I had multiples just to be sure! (I had to do the research to report back to you, right?) The flavours were rich, and everything was of the highest quality. The pastry chefs and their teams sure did spoil all the attendees!

eclairs from Atul Palghadmal of Nugateau 

white perfection (white chocolate, vanilla cream, maple mousse, biscuit) from Lior Aronovich of Amadeus Patisserie

from Chris Kwok of Cluny Bistro

With a full belly, we happily attended sessions to learn about Canada’s culinary industry from the experts. We started with a session on cookbook publishing. It seemed right up my alley considering my background in writing. The panel consisted of Michelle Meade (senior editor, Figure 1 Publishing), Lisa Jager (art director, Penguin Random House), and Trish Bunnett (publicity manager, Penguin Random House). It was moderated by Alison Maclean. These four women spoke about the cookbook publishing industry for chefs, bloggers, and enthusiasts. I was pleased that bloggers were included in several presentations throughout the day. The women spoke of the publishing process – for pitch to proposal to editors meetings to writing to food styling – there are so many parts that go into book making, and I soaked it all up!

We then turned from cookbook publishing to Quebec’s culinary traditions in a session titled “French Flavour.” Since my trip to Montebello, Quebec has been on my mind quite a bit, so when I saw this session in the program, I was curious. We heard from Alex Cruz and Cyril Gonzales (co-owners: Société-Original and L’École Buissonnière), Anne Desjardins, Geneviève Vézina-Montplaisir (Caribou magazine), and Simon Thibault.

The third session we went to before the break was titled “The Science of Flavour.” In this session, moderated by Brian Gilvesy (YU Ranch), Joshua Evans (PhD student), Mark Schatzker (author and hst on Flavour TV), and John Szabo (master sommelier) addressed questions and concerns about flavour. Why do people taste things differently, what are we doing when we grow our food to enhance or change flavour, etc. “Tomatoes” was a hot topic…flavourful or flavourless? It depends on the time of year and where they’re grown, of course!

At this point in the day, attendees were invited to a reception. While I could not eat more caviar (I know, I know, but I couldn’t!), I did manage to sip on a delicious bourbon cocktail! And just like the food and desserts that were served earlier in the day, the cocktails were made with much attention to detail. Loved it!

The late-afternoon sessions first consisted of a panel moderated by Matty Matheson, Viceland TV host and chef, Parts & Labour. We saw clips from Kevin Kossowan’s dramatic film about food and agriculture, learned about pulses (which are dried goods like chickpeas and lentils) from Courtney Hirota from Pulse Canada, and Michael Ableman, author and organic farmer. It was a session that urged us to think about where our food is grown, where we buy it, and how we can maximize our local efforts.

Following this, we heard about the San Pellegrino Young Chef competition. Jacob Richeler of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants moderated the session with Alison Ramage (Design to Dine) and Normand LaPrise (Toqué). Could you imagine judging a food competition? That would be amazing! They should get the public (aka people like me) right on in there alongside the top chefs! Right?

To end Terroir Symposium, we attended an “Iconically Canadian” panel with Lynn Crawford, Dufflet Rosenberg, Susur Lee, and Matty Matheson. The four chefs have different personalities and culinary backgrounds, so it was interesting to hear about their perspectives on the Canadian culinary industry. While the session focused on Toronto, I know that there are many gems across Canada that add to our culinary excellence!

So would I attend the Terroir Symposium again? You bet I would! Food, mingling, art, and learning…these are some of my favourite things, and Terroir served them all!

All photos by Jordana.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Two for Tuesday: Style at Home – June Issue

Today’s two-of-a-kind feature is extremely special because it features two of my most favourite things: the June issue of Style at Home magazine (check out pages 44+ for my home tour) and Nutella (yum!).

#WhiteCabanaxStyleatHome

via White Cabana – Instagram

I love seeing my name in print – academic journals, magazine articles, or Nutella jars – it all makes me happy!

Save

Save

Save

Event: Relais & Chateaux Congress at Langdon Hall

Please tell me you’re still enjoying all of my #WhiteCabanaGoestoLangdonHall news. I thoroughly enjoy my visits there. It’s a unique gem, and I’m happy to share stories about my experiences. The staff is so kind and welcoming, and I’m thrilled that I get to keep visiting. Some friends have asked me about my recent dinner there, so I thought I’d write a little something about it in case others were interested in learning, too.

Last week, Langdon Hall hosted the Congress of the North American Relais & Chateaux partners. Owners, general managers, and others from Relais & Chateaux properties came to Langdon Hall for a few days of learning and mingling. On the Sunday before the learning began, Langdon Hall hosted a reception for its guests – congress attendees and a few other friends, too. I was thrilled to have been invited to join in on the fun.

I arrived at Langdon Hall on a rainy evening, but the weather didn’t dampen anyone’s mood. As soon as I stepped inside the main house, I was handed a glass of champagne (rain? what rain?). While sipping on the bubbly, I chatted with a few of the guests. Everyone was in a happy mood, and everyone seemed to be amazed by the beauty of Langdon Hall. I know! I get it!

Wine tasting was happening in several of the rooms, and in addition to the Bergström and the Guado al Tasso wines, I was fascinated by the Coravin wine opener. A needle punctures through the cork, and the wine is poured. Through the power of magic (and engineering), after you take the opener off the bottle, the cork remains in place. The wine is protected, and it won’t spoil, since the cork remains as the seal.

While we were sipping on champagne and wine, plenty of hors d’oeuvres were passed around. Presentation was beautiful and we were treated with plenty of delicious treats!

A little while later, all guests were invited to make their way to the Firshade Room which is Langdon Hall’s newest event space (I wrote about it when it was set up for a wedding open house.). Here, Langdon Hall’s owner, Mr. Bill Bennett, welcomed all of his guests and introduced three performers from the Stratford Festival – Sean Arbuckle, Blyth Wilson, and Laura Burton on piano. They performed a few songs, and the songs from Guys and Dolls were especially entertaining. It seems like it’s a really fun show!

costumes from A Little Night Music

And then…we feasted.

Chef Jason Bangerter and his team worked wonders once again. Charcuterie, truffle risotto, beef and pork with turnip purée, oysters, and apple slices topped with cheese and marcona almonds? Oh, jeez, I was in food heaven! The meal was served buffet-style, and everything was plated in style. As is the Langdon Hall way!

And to end our meal? Pastry Chef Rachel Nicholson and her team created so many artistic treats. There was something for everyone. I opted for a creme brulée and a peanut butter and strawberry mousse. It was hard to resist at just two – let me tell you!

The evening was memorable, fun, interesting, and delicious. I had great conversations throughout the evening, and I learned more about several Relais & Chateaux properties.

Thanks again, Langdon Hall, for welcoming me in so warmly!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Travel: Things to Do in Collingwood, Ontario

As I mentioned on Monday, I recently enjoyed a relaxing time at the Scandinave Spa Blue Mountains in Collingwood, Ontario. The day was a full one, and I’d like to fill you in on a few other things I experienced during this mini-vacation.

As I mentioned, the drive from Waterloo to the Collingwood area is very easy and enjoyable. Driving the country roads is relaxing and beautiful. The route took us through the charming town of Erin, Ontario, and just as we entered the main part of town, we spotted a house painted black with café on the sign – the Tin Roof Café. We grabbed homemade cookies and coffee (healthy way to start a spa day, right?) for our journey. I appreciated the design, and the coffee was well-made, too. I recommend it.

As we made it to Collingwood, we stopped to walk the main street. When we spotted a white bike in a shop window, I knew I had to explore. Turns out that the store – Leuk – was made for people like me. White, white, and more white! In fact, Leuk has three stores – a flower store, a café and clothing store, and a furniture store – all on the main street (Hurontario St.) in Collingwood. I wanted to buy everything.

photo via Leuk

On the recommendation of a Leuk saleswoman, we stopped in at The Tremont for a delicious lunch in a design-y, French atmosphere. Marble tables get me. Every. Single. Time. I had a freshly made quiche and side salad, which I thought was an improvement from my morning cookie. The closer you get to a spa, the healthier you get? 🙂 I would definitely go back to The Tremont on a future visit.

photo via The Tremont Cafe

Not wanting to return home after five hours at the spa, we took the quick drive over to the Blue Mountain Village. This is the ski zone. There are shops, restaurants, and accommodations for all those people who love to ski. In the spring, though, the Village is a great place for a little walk. We were also hungry for dinner at this point in the day (worked up an appetite after all that relaxing!), and we walked around the sweet boardwalk to the Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill restaurant at the Westin Trillium House hotel. I had already known that the Westin was in the Village, but I didn’t know that Oliver & Bonacini was the in-hotel restaurant. The restaurant has a beautiful, modern, and welcoming interior, and the sun was shining brightly in the restaurant even though it must have been close to 7pm at this point in the day. Such a wonderful atmosphere! Here, I opted for a classic pizza margherita. Yum. I’d order it again. And one of these days, I’m going to stay at the Westin because it looks like my kind of place – regardless of season!

photo via Oliver & Bonacini

So, not only did I have an amazing time at the Scandinave Spa, but I also really enjoyed exploring a bit of Collingwood. I know the area has so much to offer, and while we generally hear about the winter activity options, I think now is also an ideal time to take explore the area.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Travel: Scandinave Spa Blue Mountains, Ontario

This year is all about #Canada150. Our country’s notable birthday is encouraging me to explore what lives outside of my neighbourhood. I’m a traveler as you may have noticed, but traveling for extended periods of time is challenging given my schedule. That’s why I’m trying to travel closer to home for shorter periods of time.

I recently took a day trip to the Collingwood area of Ontario. The region is about a 2-hour drive from Waterloo, which makes it a great day trip destination. The main purpose of my trip was to relax at the Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain.

don’t be fooled – this is just a photo backdrop since cameras are not allowed in the baths area

the trees are absolutely beautiful – even if they don’t yet have their leaves

I brought along my Sea Bags tote, and it was perfect!

walk down memory lane – here I am two years ago in the same location

It has been a few years since I first went to Scandinave, so my trip was long overdue. Since my last trip, Scandinave has added an infrared sauna, relaxation solaria, and multiple indoor and outdoor loungers.

one of the best parts of Scandinave – the quiet

The idea at Scandinave is to alternate between hot, cold, and rest periods in a calm, quiet environment. We started with the infrared sauna since it was new, and we wanted to try it out. Thumbs up! We moved to a warm bath, then plunged into one of the cold baths (I could only go up to my thighs!). A rest outside turned into a short snooze, then the routine continued. And continued some more. For four more hours. Heavenly! Magical! Perfection!

Scandinave Blue has an infrared sauna, a traditional sauna, a eucalyptus steam room, three warm(er)(est) bath pools, and three cold(er)(est) bath pools. In addition to these, there are multiple indoor solaria with loungers and magazines for rest periods as well as plenty of outdoor spaces with Adirondack chairs, fire pits, moon loungers, and hammocks. The views in every direction are beautiful – even when there are no leaves on the trees. You can imagine the views as Scandinave is surrounded by 25 acres of forested land!

In between this challenging routine of hot-cold-rest, I had to have a massage. Ha! Right? Tough life! (Have I mentioned how grateful I am!?) I booked myself in for a massage because (a) I seem to be on in a self-care phase at the moment and (b) I’ve never had a massage.

I met with Cathy, a Registered Massage Therapist, who explained her approach and told me to relax. Done. I was already in full-relaxation mode because of the baths, but I relaxed to the extreme with the massage! Cathy was great and definitely made my first massage experience a positive one. I thought she was going to massage me karate-chop-style, but she didn’t. Apparently, I believe things I see in movies? Anyway, the massage was definitely a worthwhile experience, and you can be sure I’ll be having another one at some point in my life! If you book a massage, access to the baths is included. It’s best to book your massage months in advance as the website suggests.

The weather on the day I went was absolute perfection. It was sunny and cool, but warm enough to lounge outdoors on the moon loungers.

A day at Scandinave Blue is supposed to rejuvenate, revitalize, and relax you. I’d say it definitely did for me! Mission accomplished.

If you only plan to go to Scandinave for the baths experience, go. If you’re looking for more, try a massage. Bath access is $55 and a Swedish massage is $145. If you’d like to extend your visit, check out the packages as well as the getaway packages.

The Collingwood area is beautiful year-round, so anytime is a great time to go! And if you’re not able to get to Collingwood, there’s a Scandinave Spa in Whistler, Old Montreal, and Mont Tremblant.

Thanks to Mallory and Mylisa for arranging my visit. All opinions are my own.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Friday Five: Mother’s Day Gift Ideas from Urban Barn

With Mother’s Day around the corner – on Sunday, May 14th – it might be time to start thinking about how you’re going to spoil loved ones in your life. Mother’s Day for me usually means a trip to Toronto to spend time with my mom doing everyday sorts of things – a garage sale perhaps, a trip to the mall, or just lounging around at home reading magazines. Mom and I enjoy many of the same easy-going activities. Heck, I’m sure we’ve even spent the day doing DIYs together! Mother’s Day is also a day to celebrate other moms in my life – my sister (mom of 4 cuties!) and friends, and to reflect on relationships I’ve had with other strong women who are no longer with us like my aunt and grandmothers.

In terms of gifts, I think moms appreciate any token. A card, a phone call, an email, a text, or a material object lets your loved ones know that you’re thinking about them. I like to spoil my mom with flowers because I know she appreciates them so much!

If you’re looking for some Mother’s Day gift ideas (and if you’d like to spoil yourself at the same time), you might want to have a look at Urban Barn. This Canadian retailer offers up-to-date items for your home – from big furniture pieces to smaller accessories. I’ve been to the Cambridge location numerous times, and there’s always something in white that catches my eye.

Today, I’m sharing five items from Urban Barn’s current collection that would make great gifts for loved ones.

Here’s an affordable container for a new plant or bouquet of flowers.

murl planter large, $19

Another place for flowers…or sangria…or water…is this pretty little pitcher.

webster water pitcher, $19

Little bowls like this one are perfect for candies, jewelery, or keys.

belize oyster decor dish, $29

If your mom needs a bedroom makeover, this dresser looks like it would be a great piece to add.

parker dresser, $1499

This bench would be beautiful in a garden. There’s also a full patio set, too.

piazza folding bench, $399

Many thanks to Urban Barn for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Food: My Experience with a Juice Cleanse

I have been thinking about trying a juice cleanse for quite a while now, but it wasn’t until after Easter weekend that I finally decided to go for it. My stomach had been making grumbling noises for a couple of weeks – probably because my eating habits haven’t been great – and a weekend of eating chocolate at Easter made me feel full and uncomfortable. As such, I thought it was a good time to spring clean my body with a cleanse.

Cleanses get mixed reviews. Some people like them because they give our body a break, give us many nutrients intensely, and give us a fresh start. Others say that cleanses aren’t necessary and as powerful as they claim. I can see both sides of the story. I generally try to take the “everything in moderation” approach so that I can eat crepes one day and not feel like I have awful nutritional habits. And I thought that a cleanse could only help my body.

So, moving on to my actual juice cleanse experience. After doing a Google search for juice cleanses in Waterloo (since I didn’t want to do all the prep work on my own!), I came across Good Vibes Juice Co. I recognized the branding from seeing the juices at Vincenzo’s, and since I’m a sucker for beautiful design, I was hooked into the Good Vibes website and read all about the cleanse options.

I mentally prepared for a 3-day cleanse, went into the Good Vibes shop early Tuesday morning, met with the owners, Lloyd and Drew, and left with 24 bottles of juice. Each day, I was to drink 8 bottles (400ml each) of juice in the suggested order: Lemonade, Eby Apple, The Cool, Heartbeet, Sunkiss, Tiger, Envy, and Cocoagood.

Day 1

I was excited to get started. The first juice was basically lemonade, so it went down easy. The same was true for the second juice  – Eby Apple – which was a really delicious apple-based juice. I reached my third juice – The Cool – just after noon, and this juice, along with juice number 4, took me hours to drink. The Cool is a green juice, and while I didn’t mind the taste, I didn’t love it. Juice 4 – Heartbeet – is a beet-based juice and I didn’t like it at all. In fact, I only drank half of it because I didn’t want my taste buds to suffer.

I drank a lot of water throughout the day – as per Good Vibes’ recommendation and as per my usual habit. It really helped me wash down the Heartbeet juice (the beet-based juice) actually!

I had juice 5 – Sunkiss – around 6pm, and it was a delight. By this time in the evening, I wasn’t actually hungry (as I thought I would be), and I was feeling energetic and awake (no coffee all day, by the way). I still had three juices to go before bedtime!

Before I grabbed juice 6 (Tiger), I had a handful of almonds. I wanted to get rid of the taste of the other juices before I went for another juice. Drew and Lloyd told me that if I was hungry, almonds or raw veggies would be good options.

I skipped juice 7 (Envy), and I was quite excited for juice 8 (Cocoagood), which is made up of almond milk, maple syrup, and cocoa. Yum! I was excited for my “reward” at the end of the day, but I ended up only drinking half of it. I wasn’t hungry. This was certainly unexpected!

Day 2

I thought I would wake up starving, but I didn’t! The first two juices (Lemonade and Eby Apple) went down easily on day 2. The third (The Cool) was easier to drink on day 2 than it was on day 1. I struggled through the rest of my beet juice from day 1, and I ended up giving away my two unused Heartbeet juices to friends who appreciated the flavour much more than me!

Again – I wasn’t so hungry during the day, which surprised me. I did have another handful of almonds around 2pm. And I drank a lot of water throughout the day.

After work, I came home for the Sunkiss, then followed it with a bit of the Tiger (a carrot-based juice). Like on Day 1, I couldn’t actually finish all of the Tiger. I guess my taste buds are not so used to these flavours!

Again, I was really looking forward to the “reward” drink at the end of the evening. I definitely liked the sweeter drinks more than the healthier ones! Good Vibes provides the nutritional information online, and I discovered that my favourite drinks were the ones that were higher in sugar. Go figure.

Day 3

Last day! Hooray! The end is in sight! The cleanse has been doable even if I’m complaining about the taste of some of the juices.

My day was similar to day 2. I had a few almonds mid-day, and I made it through about 6 of the juices again…leaving out Heartbeet and Envy. I know that by skipping juices, I missed out on some of the nutrients, but I accepted this. I wasn’t hungry, and I was feeling energetic throughout the day.

I enjoyed my last drink – Cocoagood – around 8pm on day 3, and I felt great. While I wasn’t craving any of my usual favourite foods (pasta! pizza! Nutella!), I was looking forward to a nice latte the following morning!

Would I do a cleanse again? Yes.
I would do a 1-day or 3-day cleanse easily once or twice a year. Maybe even 4 times a year to go with the change of seasons. More than that – I’m not sure. The timing of this cleanse was perfect considering my work/life schedule, and I think that this helped me stay focused.

Would I recommend Good Vibes Juice Co.? Yes.
The opening hours of the store is convenient for me. This honestly made my decision an easy one. Beyond this and the gorgeous packaging, I appreciate all the ingredient and nutritional info that is provided online about the juices.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Friday Five: Waterloo Region’s ION

Every since I moved to Waterloo, people have been talking about The ION. They were probably talking about it before I arrived, too. At first, I had no idea what people were going on about because nothing was visibly happening in my neighbourhood. Then last summer, King St. was ripped up completely while the ION crew was working away, This is when I really noticed that things were a-changin’ in the region.

The ION, for those of you outside the Waterloo region, is our new light rail system. It will connect one end of the region to the other. The first ION train came to the area just a couple of weeks ago from Bombardier’s Thunder Bay plant, and they hype has been growing.

Last weekend, the city hosted an open house so that the public could take a tour of the first ION train. I opted to take mosey on over, and I was surprised by the crowd of people! There was an incredible turnout on a sunny Saturday afternoon! This was history in the making, and it was interesting to see the public’s enthusiasm as well as all the different people and organizations who have been part of the ION journey.

Today, I’d like to spread the news and share with you some photos along with five things that I learned about the ION during the open house.

1. The ION’s light rail transit (LRT) is made up of 19 kilometers of rail which goes from the Conestoga Mall transit terminal in Waterloo to the Fairway Mall transit terminal in Kitchener.

2. There are about 60 seats in each LRT vehicle. Each vehicle can carry about 200 people.

3. The LRT vehicles are build by Bombardier. The Waterloo Region has purchased 14 vehicles. The first has arrived at ION’s Dutton Dr. headquarters (aka The site of the open house.).

4. ION riders and Grand River Transit riders (bus system) will pay one fair to use both services.

5. Stage 2 of the ION development will include a link to Cambridge. In all, there will be a 37km route connecting Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo.

I think developing in public transit is a smart option for our region. Yes, it is costing a ton of money (and I’m sure my taxes are paying for it), but in the long run, I think it makes sense for a region as developed – and developing – as this one!

Learn more at RideION.

Photos by Jordana.

Save

Save

Food: Riviera Yogurt

Months and months ago when I was grocery shopping and my local Sobey’s, I picked up a package of Riviera yogurt. Now, I’m not much of a yogurt consumer. I buy Greek yogurt every so often, but I’m not a daily consumer. So when I saw this Riviera yogurt, I was mostly interested in the glass jars. They reminded me of France. So I picked them up and hoped for the best.

image via Riviera

Let me tell you, this yogurt is really good. It is like the yogurt I’ve had in France and Switzerland. I opted for the plain yogurt (I’m not that fancy when it comes to yogurt), but I’ve since bought the lemon yogurt (mostly because I like saying citron), and I like alternating between these two. The yogurt is delicious, it doesn’t upset my stomach (some yogurts do), and the serving size is perfect. Plus, les petits pots look fancy and pretty. Beyond plain and flavoured yogurt, the Riviera line also includes parfaits, cheeses, and milk. My local Sobey’s doesn’t carry everything, but the Riviera website helps you find locations where the Riviera line is carried.

So what do I do with the glass jars after I’ve eaten the yogurt? Well, they have so many uses! I’ve used my jars to store nuts, hummus, candy, and candles. You can order plastic lids in just about every colour online, and porcelain lids may be available, too (the website notes that these are currently out of stock).

If you live in Quebec and you don’t want to reuse your pots, you can drop them off at Renaissance. Otherwise, you can check out the 1001 tips for reuse.

pistachio dessert recipe and photo via Maison Orphée

photo via Riviera Facebook

For those who are interested to learn more about this yogurt, the Riviera line is part of the Chalifoux company, an award-winning, family-owned business based in Quebec. Oui oui!

Many thanks to Kathleen H. for sending me some lids for my petits pots.

Save

Save

Save

Art: The Artbarn Auction

I love when people see white goodies and think of White Cabana! That’s what recently happened to Shannon (8foot6) who emailed me this photo of Tamim Sahib Zader’s white-on-white silkscreen.

silkscreen by Tamim Sahib Zader

This art piece is up for grabs at the Artbarn art auction online (currently) and offline this Thursday, February 9th in Toronto. The funds raised are going to support the Artbarn art school.

Save

Architecture: Old Ontario Houses

When I was in the Niagara region recently, I took several photos of gorgeous houses, including this lovely yellow home. I always seem to notice new ones when I’m there. And each on in Niagara-on-the-Lake is especially interesting and unique. We have gorgeous properties in the Waterloo region, which I ogle, and I always paid attention to the details of these homes when I lived in London and Kingston. They ooze charm, and they catch my eye!

And that’s why I’m a sucker for the Instagram account called Old Ontario Houses. Do you know it? Caution – you may not notice the time fly by once you start scrolling and reading about the locations of each house!

Here are a few white ones that caught my attention as I was scrolling through the feed recently:

Yates Street Heritage District, St. Catharines

Niagara-on-the-Lake

Niagara-on-the-Lake

St. David’s

Jordan Village

St. Mary’s

St. Thomas

Since it’s #Canada150 this year, maybe it’s about time I – or we – should start paying extra attention to white architecture in our beautiful country!

Save

Save

Save

Travel: Niagara Icewine Festival, Niagara, Ontario

Are you looking for something to do this weekend? If yes, I’d like to suggest you take a trip to Niagara to tour the wineries, sip on icewine, and eat delicious food – all part of the Niagara Icewine Festival. I know it shouldn’t take much more than that to convince you, but if you need some more info before you plan your weekend, this is the post for you.

When I reached out to the Niagara Icewine Festival organization, the kind folks there kindly sent over a pair of Discovery Passes. I was eager to go to the festival because I had never been, and I thought it would be a nice day away from my weekend routine of chores, errands, and work. It turned out to be much more than that!

The Discovery Pass ($40) allows you to visit 8 wineries of your choosing over the period of the festival (January weekends). Planning can be done before you arrive in Niagara via the Discovery Pass Listings and Wine Route Planner. I didn’t actually plan too much before we set off, so I did some of the route planning during the car ride over. Although the plan did change a bit as the trip progressed because of chats with other guests and winery staff, it was nice to have some sense of wineries that I might enjoy. Because the participating wineries extended from Grimsby to Niagara-on-the-Lake, it was nice to visit wineries along the full route. Thank goodness for reliable GPS systems!

We began our tour at Kacaba (pronounced Ka-sa-ba) where we met David, a friendly and informative Kacaba employee. Here, we learned about Kacaba’s history and soon-to-be-completed expansion, sipped on Jennifer’s Pinot Gris, and enjoyed jumbo prawns with our icewine cocktail. It was a great start to the day!

From Kacaba, we headed to Stoney Ridge winery. Here, we sipped on some chardonnay and  munched on some apple smoked bacon mac n cheese. The winery has a specialty cheese counter, too. I wanted to try everything! And for dessert – icewine-infused marshmellows roasted on the outdoor fire pit.

After Stoney Ridge, we drove to Megalomaniac. We drove up a windy road through the vineyards, and were greeted by an impressive, modern  building that had been hidden by the fog. It was pretty remarkable. Megalomaniac’s branding is awesome with wine names like The Narcissist and Big Kahuna paired with labels designed to match perfectly. The staff were friendly and generous. Here, we tasted four icewine cocktails and marveled at the grandness of the building’s design and decor. And the fog – oh the fog was pretty dreamy!

We made another stop at Tawse with good intentions to enjoy the Discovery Pass, but we needed a break from wine sipping (imagine that). Instead, we took a tour of the facilities and had a very informative conversation with Julie, one of the friendly Tawse staff. I’d like to go back to Tawse in the spring/summer to explore a bit more. The cave-like setting was charming, and it certainly reminded me of French wineries. Tawse is also interesting because it’s an organic and biodynamic winery – apparently it’s a place where chickens roam. I must learn more!

So after these stops in the area of Vineland, we headed to Niagara-on-the-Lake for a hearty lunch before our next tour.

Our first stop in Niagara-on-the-Lake – and last of the day – was at Strewn Winery. The event was organized so that while guests stood at large tables in the cooking school area, they were served icewine paired with a chocolate ganache tart.

I honestly thought that visiting 8 wineries in one day would be doable. In fact, it isn’t. We spent almost an hour at each winery – sipping, eating, chatting, touring – and if you add in travel time, the day just flies! Plus, who can actually keep track of time when you’re in wine country surrounded by beautiful vineyards? If you’re planning a trip and would like to maximize your Discovery Pass, I highly recommend you stay overnight in the region.

On Day 2, we began in Niagara-on-the-lake at Reif Estate Winery (Reif is pronounced Rye-f). This easily became one of my favourite spots on the tour. The Discovery Pass had us enjoying icewine paired with porchetta. The pig wasn’t happy, but I sure was! The setting was old-world, and I learned that Reif is one of the oldest winery in Niagara. After visiting some of the younger (less than 10 years old) wineries, it was nice to see a place with a longer history.

From Reif, we drove down the road to Konzelmann. This is another winery with a longer history and German heritage. The staff was, once again, informative and welcoming. We learned about the family traditions, the building’s construction, and some of the plans for the future. The retail shop has bottles at various price points.

Stop number 7 (were you counting?) was Sue-Ann Staff Winery in Jordan. This smaller winery is run by a passionate owner and team. Here, our icewine was paired with a sweet potato crème brulée. Yes, I said sweet potato!

To wrap up the Niagara Icewine Festival adventure, we visited Redstone Winery (by mistake, actually) to enjoy a chocolate-infused chili with our icewine. Redstone is owned by the Tawse family, but the feel of the winery is quite different. While Tawse is old-world and cave-like, Redstone is industrial and bright. The building is absolutely stunning, and we learned that it has won awards in the architectural world (I didn’t take any photos of it, unfortunately!). While we couldn’t see the views from the restaurant on account of the fog, I imagine that this would be a spectacular place in the spring/summer.  I’d love to make a return trip here, too. (Are you sensing a pattern?)

As someone who had never been to the icewine festival, or Niagara wineries in general, the Discovery Pass was an ideal option for casual exploration. The winery listings is large, so there’s something for everyone. The pass is also a nice way to spread out your visits during the month of January if you live in – or close to – the region, since the 8 visits are not confined to one weekend of the festival. What I enjoyed about the tour is the variety of wineries that I got to visit as well as the stories and buildings to go with the incredible scenery. The people I met are certainly passionate about what they do!

The Niagara region is approximately a 1.5-hour drive from Waterloo. The drive is easy and pleasant, and it doesn’t include a 401 traffic jam in Milton (great news, right?). There’s one more weekend to go for this year’s Niagara Icewine Festival. Let me know if you have any questions if you’re planning a trip.

Thanks to K.H. at the Niagara Icewine Festival for arranging my Discovery Passes. All opinions, thoughts, and photos are my own.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Art: Beauty in White

I’m starting off 2017 with art. While I have written about art regularly on the blog, I would like to add more art content to the pages of White Cabana this year. There are so many stunning pieces of affordable – and beyond my budget – art out there that I’d like to share it with you.

Under $100

 

Ballroom 2 by Haley Warner, Minted, $25USD for 10″x8″

Linger by Sarah McInroe, Minted, $25USD for 8″x10″

Scoring Through by Van Tsao, Minted, $25USD for 8″x10″

Under $200

Rose Petals by Jelena Kostic, $175, 20″x28″

Under $500

Diver II by William Stafford, $295USD, One Kings Lane

Molten Ecru by Simone Webb, $260CAD for 12″x14″

Think by Tommy Ingberg, $375USD

Over $1000

Queen drawing by Charles Pachter, $9500, Caviar20

Eileen Lake by Adolf Arthur Dehn, $3314CAD, 1stDibs

The Party is Over by Gemma Gené, $6400USD

Save

Save

Save

Save

2016: Some Highlights

Yesterday, I gave a massive shout-out to all the brands I have been fortunate to work with in 2016. Several collaborations were the result of years-long relationships, and others were brand new experiences for which I am very grateful.

Today, I wanted to share some highlights from the year.

    • Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation: Because of generous donations from family and friends, as well as an October fundraising effort on my blog and social media (#WhiteCabanaWearsPink), I was able to donate over $1200 to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Amazing! In addition to the monetary donation, I ran 5K (my first in a long while) for the CIBC Run for the Cure here in Kitchener-Waterloo, and it felt great to be running alongside survivors and supporters.
    • WhiteCabanaxStephenHawes: What started out as an informal “have you ever considered…” conversation with one of my MBA colleagues turned into an amazing collaboration with Waterloo potter Stephen Hawes. The first WhiteCabanaxStephenHawes collection was on sale for one week at the Robert Langen Art Gallery at Wilfrid Laurier University. The collection sold out! Happy! Happy!
    • Expedia.ca: Thanks to an amazing collaboration with Expedia.ca, I was able to tour Italy for 2 weeks with my Dad. Among many cool adventures, I attended a reunion lunch in Rimini with his highschool friends, and spent some time in Florence with one of his best highschool friends, and my cousin came along, too.
    • Langdon Hall: I have such admiration for Langdon Hall. The place is warm, the people are friendly, and the food is divine. Just last month, I was invited to an incredible dinner with Chefs Jason Bangerter (of Langdon Hall) and Jackie Lin (of Toronto’s Shousin). This was an evening that I’ll remember (and talk about) for a long while!
    • Blogger meet-ups: The online blogging community has paved the way for  real-life friendships. Our meet-ups have extended beyond brand media events, and I’m so thankful to have such warm and kind people in my life.
    • Triathlon relay: This was a last-minute decision, but I’m so glad my friends and I braved the rain to complete our first triathlon relay. My friend Chris was a great swim coach, and TYR generously sponsored our wetsuits for the event. While the swim didn’t go as smoothly as I had expected (ew-dark lake water), it was a positive experience, and I’m even considering doing it again next summer.

How about you? What were your White Cabana highlights? What posts were memorable? What did you enjoy reading?

Thanks to you, dear readers, for joining me on this journey in white!

via Minted

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Waterloo Region: Doon Heritage Village

Last weekend, Rox-Anne and I took a trip to Doon Heritage Village at the Waterloo Region Museum. Just a few weeks earlier, I had gone to the Museum, but the Village was closed, so we didn’t have a chance to take a tour. On this visit though, the Village was all decked out for its Country Christmas event, so it was a festive and cheery way to spend a couple of hours.

Doon Heritage Village is a “60-acre living history village that shows visitors what life was like in Waterloo Region in the year 1914.” I was impressed by the knowledgeable staff who provided us with information about food, tradition, family living, and marketplace routines as we moved through each of the buildings in the Village.

There was a lot of natural wood in the homes and merchant shops in the village, but I spotted quite a bit of white, too (as per usual…I’m always on the lookout!).

some tools by the fire in one of the home’s kitchens

wood and wood and more wood in a home’s basement storage area

saddles in the leather shop

white and wood in the leather shop

saddle supplies in the leather shop

pretty wreath on the church door

simplicity in the church

winter white

a glimpse of the loom in the rug weavery

a home dressed for Christmas

food storage in a home’s basement

I love this image of Father Christmas waiting to greet guests, and I’m going to be on the lookout for a wall match strike like this one.

Rox-Anne will be sharing more photos on Celebrating This Life this week, so be sure to check in if you’d like to learn more.Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Marketplace: White Cabana x Stephen Hawes

EEEK!!!! I’m so excited to finally share a full view of my new pottery collection!

Over the last few months, I have had the opportunity to work with a local potter, Stephen Hawes, to create a collection of pottery. Our collection is going to be sold at Wilfrid Laurier University’s new shop at the Robert Langen Art Gallery. Pretty amazing, right?

When I was approached with the idea, I was totally on board. But then I thought – ah – could I actually design a collection that people would want, that reflects my design aesthetic, and that highlights the potter’s skills? I was nervous at first, but the process went very smoothly.

I brainstormed and sketched out a bunch of designs. I had sizes and colour options detailed, too. Then Stephen and I met to discuss the feasibility and usefulness of each of the objects I designed. We also talked about colour variation (not too much, since this was going to be a white and black collection!).

Stephen got to work in his workshop, and we met again in the summer to review the prototypes. At that meeting, it was great to see the prototypes so that I could confirm or adjust each item’s design, colour, and size.

Another couple of months went by and then the collection was done. Poof! Stephen had fired everything up and was ready for the final reveal. I know I’m biased, but it’s beautiful. I like to think that this pottery collection is modern, easy, accessible, and versatile.

So…are you ready to have a look at some of the collection? Here we go…

White Cabana X Stephen Hawes

white_cabana_stephen_hawes_1

use it for: hair ties, cotton balls, salt, mini cactuswhite_cabana_stephen_hawes_2

white_cabana_stephen_hawes_3 white_cabana_stephen_hawes_4

use it for: drinking cup, pencils, straws, cheese sticks, Qtips white_cabana_stephen_hawes_5

use it for: fruit, salad, remote controls

white_cabana_stephen_hawes_7

white_cabana_stephen_hawes_8

white_cabana_stephen_hawes_6

use it for: (L) pasta, salad, bread, rock garden; (R) candy bowl, popcorn    white_cabana_stephen_hawes_9

use it for: utensils, toothbrushes, strawswhite_cabana_stephen_hawes_10

use it for: popcorn, plant, mailwhite_cabana_stephen_hawes_11

use it for: milk, syrup, salad dressingwhite_cabana_stephen_hawes_12

use it for: (L) green tea, iced tea, water, wooden spoons; (R) spoons, sugar, soy saucewhite_cabana_stephen_hawes_13

use it for: Lego, chips, scarves

There are a variety of shapes and sizes in this collection, and the black lines of each object also vary. Each piece is unique and made with care.

The complete collection will be for sale at the Robert Langen Art Gallery in the library at Wilfrid Laurier University beginning on Monday, December 5th at 11am. More details here.

Thanks to Stephen Hawes for working on this project with me.
Thanks to Nick, Suzanne, and the Laurier Library for encouraging this initiative.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Food: Langdon Hall + Shoushin

I absolutely do not know how to begin this post. Do I start by telling you about the 10-course menu? Or maybe about the first time I sipped on sake? Perhaps I could tell you about how I shared an evening with a group of strangers. A good place to start might be to tell you about how two celebrity chefs came together to plan a unique dining experience. Okay, you want me to just get to it, don’t you?

You already know that I’m a big fan of Langdon Hall. Ever since I drove up the winding driveway and saw Langdon Hall for the first time in June 2015, I’ve been hooked. It’s not just something in the water. There’s something in the air, the food, the surroundings, the garden, the architecture, and the people. The place is special.

A couple of weekends ago, I was invited to be a guest at an exclusive dinner prepared by Chef Jason Bangerter of Langdon Hall and Chef Jackie Lin of Shoushin. This dinner was a celebration – and collaboration – of two cultures. It was a dinner that brought together tradition from the Japanese and French. It was a unique feast that showcased the culinary art of two incredibly talented chefs as well as incredible sake and wine pairings from Kado and Halpern, respectively. It was certainly a night to remember!

langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-7

A 10+ course meal? I trained for it! I only ate breakfast that day in preparation for the event! (Although I did have some Terroir upon arrival…do you blame me?). I’m pretty sure my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw the extensive menu. Chef Jackie Lin prepared fish that was flown in from Japan for the occasion. Chef Jason Bangerter worked with Jackie to prepare and pair the fish with French flavour and flair, and, as per usual, he sourced many ingredients from Langdon Hall’s gardens. It was inspiring, educational, and delicious! It was chemistry. It was art.

British photographer Simon Boucher-Harris snapped a collection of beautiful photos that I’m thrilled to be able to share here.

Behind the scenes…

langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-1langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-3 langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-6langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-5 langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-4langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-19

(Simon took this photo of Chef Jackie during the cooking demonstration the following day, but it’s such a great photo that I had to include it!)

The dinner…

langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-8 langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-9langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-13langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-10 langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-12 langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-14 langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-15langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-17 langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-21langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-18langdon-hall_shoushin_simon-boucher-harris-20

Each course – as you’ve seen in the photos above – was paired with sake or wine. I had never had sake, so I was a bit hesitant, but since I was sitting beside Kiyoko Miyashita – sake expert and owner of Kado – I was given excellent explanations of what I was drinking. Sake has a higher alcohol percentage than wine, and it has a unique flavour. I thought I had tasted anise, but Kiyoko assured me that there was no anise in the drink. Althought I was told that the flavour is even better after the drink sits for a while, I could never seem to let mine sit for too long since it was so delicious!

As the evening was a celebration of two cultures, we were also lucky to sip on French red wine for some of the fish courses and the venison course.

It’s hard to put into words how special this evening was. Although many of the 30 people in attendance started the evening as strangers, after clinking glasses to toast, sharing travel stories and laughs, we ended the evening as new social media friends and conversations continued after the evening ended. To have two remarkable chefs collaborate to create a menu just for us, share their recipes, and mingle as they put finishing touches on our meals at our tables was extraordinary. Shoushin at Langdon Hall was a very good idea!

This event was a partnership between two well-recognized establishments – Langdon Hall in Cambridge, Ontario and Shoushin in Toronto.

Photos by Simon Boucher-Harris.

Thanks to Langdon Hall for inviting me to be your guest.

Save

Save

Save

Real Estate: Yorkville Condo, Toronto

I saw this condo pop up in my Twitter feed, and I couldn’t help but clicking the link to learn more. The white and wood are absolutely my style. photo_22533334-666x500 photo_22533337-666x500 photo_22533352-666x500 photo_22533339-666x500 photo_22533333-666x500 photo_22533344-666x500 photo_22533343-666x500 photo_22533335-666x500

The Yorkville condo (high-end part of Toronto) is listed just under $1 million. Learn more via Sotheby’s.

Save

Beauty: The Langdon Hall Spa

Months and months ago, I was invited to the unveiling of the new Langdon Hall Spa. Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted all the photos I took of the gorgeous space (oh, those walnut floors!), so I didn’t share it here. I did, however, create a hotel to home post featuring the spa’s marbled bathroom.

When I was invited back to Langdon Hall a couple of weekends ago for a ridiculously memorable dinner (more on that soon), I opted to begin my stay at the spa. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get pampered (as if the dinner and overnight wasn’t enough, right?) and experience the spa as a guest.

langdon-hall-spa_whitecabana-2

langdon-hall-spa_whitecabana-7

I’m so predictable. No mistaking which locker is mine!

langdon-hall-spa_whitecabana-6

Surely, I’m not the only one who loves a good embroidered bathrobe!

I arrived about an hour before my pedicure appointment as I thought it would be a good opportunity to enjoy the whirlpool, steam room, and sauna before my appointment. Good idea, I say! This gave me just enough time to get changed, relax, read a couple of magazines, and then enjoy a tea and treat in the lounge. If you go for a service, I would definitely recommend allotting some time to enjoy the water area. It was definitely relaxing and got me in the slow-spa-mood. You know what I mean? Forced relaxation…that’s what this gal needs!

langdon-hall-spa_whitecabana-4

Spa guests are welcome to enjoy the whirlpool, sauna, and steam room before or after their services.

The spa is beautifully designed. The colours are calming, the decor is traditional yet current, and the furniture is extremely comfortable. I did not want to leave the chaise in the lounge, and I’m pretty sure another guest had fallen asleep on hers. Total relaxation!

langdon-hall-spa_whitecabana-5

enjoying my tea and a magazine – covered in a light blanket!

I had a pedicure on this visit, and I was very pleased with the service and result. The Langdon Hall Spa uses only the best products (hello Valmont!), and the scrub, cream, and polish were all from SpaRitual – a vegan organic product line (The company has been around for just over a decade, but I first learned about it at the Ritz Carlton Sarasota this past summer).

Many of the products are also available in the spa shop. I think I need to go back to pick up the SpaRitual protein nail polish (I can’t remember its exact name.) Apparently, it would be good for my nails, especially during the winter months.

langdon-hall-spa_whitecabana-3

a glimpse at the spa shop

Would I go again? You bet I would! I might try a massage at some point soon – I’ve never had one, but I’m thinking that it would be a great way to relax after my hectic school term ends.

langdon-hall-spa_whitecabana-1

See you soon, Langdon Hall! You know it’s impossible for me to stay away!

Note: I don’t usually apologize for iPhone photos, but these look unusually blurry, don’t they. Any tips? Perhaps my iPhone went into relaxation mode at the spa, too!

Save

Save

Save

Save

#WhiteCabanaWearsPink: Beautiful Pink on Instagram

Over the last few weeks, I’ve come across so many gorgeous photos on Instagram featuring pink lovliness. Many of the photos I’ve saved, I have to admit, I’ve collected from Leslie Shewring who is the co-author of Decorate for a Party. Have a look….

pink-floor-leslie-shewring

Leslie Shewring

pink-peonies-leslie-shewring

Leslie Shewring

sketch-london-leslie-shewring-pink

Sketch London by Leslie Shewring

pink-tulips-leslie-shewring

Leslie Shewring

pink-paint-art-leslie-shewring

Leslie Shewring

pink-dragon-fruit-leslie-shewring

Leslie Shewring

pink-cloud-alice-in-her-palaceAlice in Her Palace

cake-pink-erica-cook

Erica Cook

erica-cook-foyer-pink

Erica Cook

pink-balloons

Little Big Bell

tiffany-pratt-pink-flower

Tiffany Pratt

Aren’t these images so pretty?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

***

Every Monday in the month of October, pink will be taking over White Cabana. This month, #WhiteCabanaWearsPink to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research. Read more about #WhiteCabanaWearsPink.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Event: #WhiteCabanaWearsPink

To raise awareness and funds for breast cancer, this October, #WhiteCabanaWearsPink. What does this mean exactly? Well, a few things. Let me share:

***

Donation of Ad and Affiliate Income

I will be donating all income generated from affiliate and Google ads this month to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Click on all those sidebar ads (and buy stuff if you’d like). The more you click (and buy), the more that I can donate! Easy, right? I’ll try to highlight the affiliate links when I include them in my posts this month, so you can get extra click happy!

***

CIBC’s Run for the Cure

I will be running 5K – in pink – this Sunday, October 2nd in Kitchener Waterloo as part of CIBC’s Run for the Cure.

I’ve been doing this run on-and-off for the last decade or so, but this will be the first time I’m taking part in my still-new-to-me city. Stay tuned for #WhiteCabanaWearsPink style posts.

If you’d like to donate, please do so at WhiteCabanaWearsPink. Every little bit helps, of course, so if you could forego a coffee or two this week and donate the money instead, I would be so darn thankful!

***

#WhiteCabanaWearsPink Series

Every Monday, #WhiteCabanaWearsPink.

Yes, this blog has an all-white aesthetic. But you know what? Sometimes it’s good to explore other colours. So every Monday in October, I’ll explore pinkness in the design world. White Cabana through rose coloured glasses, I guess. Yes?

***

Thanks in advance for your support, dear readers.

Fashion: Spotlight on Opelle Handbags

I’ve written about Toronto’s Opelle two years ago in this post, and I’m coming back to it because the collection of handbags is stunning. Co-owners Amy Malcolm and Beth Nicholson Crago have a beautiful aesthetic and their designs continue to catch my fashion-loving eye!

Vanda

Vanda, $261 (on sale)

BotanistBotanist, $253 (on sale)

Roberta-Opelle

Roberta Sling, $195

Lotus-Opelle

Lotus, $485

I really like how Milton-based blogger Sabrina Smelko has styled the Lotus Weekender two ways in her recent post. Here’s a peek:

opelle-ssmelko_-18

via Sabrina Smelko

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Friday Five: 5 Things to Do in Kitchener-Waterloo This Long Weekend

Happy Canada Day! What goodness are you planning this weekend?

I’ve said it so many times here and in real life – I really enjoy living in Waterloo. This city – and region – has so much to offer, and I live such a happy, rich, and pleasant life here. Summer, of course, makes everything that much better, and this area has a lot of offer its residents and guests.

As we have just begun a long weekend here, I’m offering up five suggestions of things to do this weekend.

1. Go for a bike ride.

The Spur Line has recently opened up, and it’s a great way to take a ride to/from Kitchener/Waterloo. The trail is smooth, wide, flat, and lit, so it’s ideal for daytime or nighttime rides.

Alternatively, take a cruise down the classic Iron Horse trail to/from Kitchener/Waterloo. This was the first path I went on when I moved to Waterloo, and it’s still one of my faves. It’s great that it takes riders from uptown Waterloo (e.g., take a gelato break at Vincenzo’s) to downtown Kitchener’s Victoria Park in no time at all. The trail is smooth, flat, and surrounded by greenery.

If you’re feeling a bit more adventures, and are looking for more nature, then head over to Cambridge and ride to/from Cambridge to Paris along the Grand River. The ride is easy, but long (maybe 40+km). I suggest wearing padded shorts. 🙂

Version 2

Here I am riding my oldie-but-goodie bike down the Iron Horse trail in Waterloo. It’s such easy living!

Version 2

Here I am last summer on the Cambridge to Paris trail with the same oldie-but-goodie bike. I earned my lunch calories in Paris that day!

2. Stay cool at a public pool.

I grew up at public pools…first, as a youngster taking lessons, then, as a teen hanging out with friends, finally as a teenager/adult teaching swimming. I love having access to a pool, and luckily, there are few great ones in the region.

Moses Springer outdoor pool is large, clean, and definitely worth a visit.

lifeguard-tower

The lifeguard tower at Moses Springer.

3. Celebrate Canada Day with fireworks at Columbia Lake.

Although this will be my third summer in Waterloo, I have yet to enjoy Canada Day fireworks. Tonight, however, I’m hoping to head over to Columbia Lake to check out the action and colourful sky show.

c010868-canadaday-site-map-pr6_page_1

Canada Day Celebration – UofWaterloo Field Map

4. Try a new café.

My two current favourite cafés are the Berlin Bicycle Café in Belmont Village the Smile Tiger Coffee beside the Via Train Station. Both are accessible via bicycle, and both offer good coffee and atmosphere. The food at Berlin Bicycle Café is fresh and delicious, and I always find something good to eat. The egg salad is delicious, and the croissant sandwiches are good, too. Both cafés have outdoor patio space, so they’re great options for sunny days.

Berlin-Bicycle-Cafe-Kitchener-Waterloo

The Berlin Bicycle Café

5. Take a drive into the countryside.

There are so many options for short road trips in the region.

  • Stay close and head to St. Jacob’s for a visit to the market.
  • Take a ride to Elora, pop into the sweet shops, and walk along the water.
  • Drive to Cambridge and pop into Monigram Roasters for a treat.
  • Drive over to Stratford and check out the first Balzac’s or grab a chocolate treat at Rhéo Thompson, then stroll around the lake.
  • Eat ice cream in any of the above towns!

Balzac-s-Stratford-White-Cabana

If you’re looking to learn more about what to do in the Waterloo region, please check out my Waterloo City Guide over on Design*Sponge.

Have a wonderful long weekend, everyone!

Happy Canada Day!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Travel: What I Did in Calgary, Alberta

On Monday, I took you on a guided tour of Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Palliser in Calgary, Alberta. Today, I’m sharing with you a few other things that I saw and did in the city.a

I was in Calgary for work, so my week was quite jam-packed. In between work obligations, however, I walked as much as I could to see what the city had to offer.

I absolutely loved the design of this parking structure.

White-Cabana-Calgary-2

I was surprised by the arches at the Hudson’s Bay downtown.

White-Cabana-Calgary-3

I was amazed by this handmade silk Fortuny chandelier.

White-Cabana-Calgary-4

I was impressed by the art around the city.

White-Cabana-Calgary-1

I found this plant store quite charming.

White-Cabana-Calgary-6

I missed seeing the inside of Lauren Bagliore‘s shop because it was closed when I passed by.

White-Cabana-Calgary-8

I was surrounded by beautiful objects at Kit and enjoyed a good conversation about Calgary (and design) with one of the sales associates.

White-Cabana-Calgary-10

I was happy to stop in to Bite for a treat.

White-Cabana-Calgary-9

It was an incredible treat to spend some in-person time with Erica Cook (Moth Design) after being online friends for 6 years. This fireplace scene in her home is pretty recognizable in the blogosphere.

White-Cabana-Calgary-7

…and it was an extra special treat to come home with some Erica Cook original artwork.

White-Cabana-Calgary-5

I enjoyed an extremely delicious meal at Sugo.

White-Cabana-Calgary-Sugo-2 Overall, I really enjoyed Calgary. It’s a friendly city and very easy to navigate. Walking around was simple, and the C-Train was certainly convenient. I would definitely be interested in going there again and spending some time in nearby Canmore and Banff. I heard the scenery is just stunning. I would love to see that part of Canada!

To see more of what I did, what I saw, and what I ate, check out #WhiteCabanaGoesToCalgary.

Travel: Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Palliser, Calgary

After reading about Erica Cook’s (of Moth Design) stay at the Fairmont Palliser over the holidays, I knew that I wanted to make a visit while I was in Calgary.

One of the highlights of my trip to Calgary was enjoying afternoon tea at the luxurious Fairmont Palliser. The hotel had a special tea service to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. White-Cabana-Afternoon-Tea-Fairmont-Palliser-Calgary_4White-Cabana-Afternoon-Tea-Fairmont-Palliser-Calgary_7

White-Cabana-Afternoon-Tea-Fairmont-Palliser-Calgary_6

I opted for a tea with bergamot because I love its flavour and fragrance.

White-Cabana-Afternoon-Tea-Fairmont-Palliser-Calgary_1

Tea time began with a martini glass filled with berries and devonshire cream.

White-Cabana-Afternoon-Tea-Fairmont-Palliser-Calgary_8

The tiered cake stand that our friendly server brought out included a selection of scones and jams (including Saskatoon berry jam). The middle layer of bites included an open-faced cucumber sandwich, a deviled egg, a salmon roll, and a curried chicken sandwich. My favourite of this bunch was definitely the salmon roll, followed by the curried chicken.

White-Cabana-Afternoon-Tea-Fairmont-Palliser-Calgary_2 White-Cabana-Afternoon-Tea-Fairmont-Palliser-Calgary_9

The top tier was the one that I wanted to dig into first (but I didn’t) since I have such a sweet tooth! I began with the trifle in the sweet glass container. While I did want to eat more while I was there, I got the rest packed up and enjoyed them the next day. The strawberry cake was my favourite dessert of the bunch.

White-Cabana-Afternoon-Tea-Fairmont-Palliser-Calgary_3

Besides the deliciousness and the experience of enjoying the Fairmont Palliser’s afternoon tea, I couldn’t help but explore a bit more of the hotel. As one would expect of any Fairmont hotel, the details were superb and the architecture was classic. Just look at this stunning chandelier.

White-Cabana-Afternoon-Tea-Fairmont-Palliser-Calgary_5

The Fairmont Palliser’s Afternoon Tea was definitely a special break from my work week in Calgary, and when I make it back to the city, I’ll definitely take another trip to this pretty hotel.

Many thanks to Jacqueline and the Fairmont Palliser for sponsoring this post. All opinions and photographs are my own.

Uptown: How I Bought a New Mattress

As some of you may know, I have declared that this year is the #YearOfMyBed.

I bought a gorgeous (really gorgeous) antique French bed a month or so ago and added a set of night stands soon after that (after some DIY attention, they’re looking just perfect with the bed if I do say so myself).

But, what’s a bed without a mattress?

Until recently, I’ve been sleeping on a double mattress inside a queen frame. It’s been fine, but it was obviously not the look (or sleep) I was going for.

To complete the #YearOfMyBed, there was obviously one thing that I really needed to do – buy a new queen mattress set. This purchase has been on my mind for a long while, but I’ve been putting it off because, frankly, I found it a bit daunting. So many mattresses, so little time? Yeah, something like that.

In the end, I headed to the sleep experts at Sleep Country Canada. I figured that it was a one-stop shop that would have helpful and knowledgeable staff who could guide me through the process. Thankfully, I figured right. (This is not a sponsored post, by the way.)

So how did I find a perfect-for-me mattress? Let me tell you!

First, I sang the Sleep Country Canada jingle.

Jokes. Jokes. I didn’t. Okay. I did. I mean, what Canadian doesn’t know Christine Magee or the Sleep Country jingle?

White-Cabana-Sleep-Country-6

Moving on…

After I headed to my local Sleep Country, I met with a sleep expert (Hi, ES!) who asked me how I sleep (side, mostly) and what type of mattress I like (more firm that soft). I told her that the brand wasn’t one of my concerns, but I did want a really good mattress that would be super comfortable (who doesn’t, right?). She narrowed the beds down for me, then told me to try everything out. What? Pretend sleep on the mattresses in the store? It felt a bit weird at the beginning, but she encouraged me to just go for it. I went back and forth between the narrowed down mattresses and “slept” on them. Feet up and everything!

White-Cabana-Sleep-Country-5

White-Cabana-Sleep-Country-8White-Cabana-Sleep-Country-4 White-Cabana-Sleep-Country-2

White-Cabana-Sleep-Country-3 White-Cabana-Sleep-Country-1 I was a bit resistant at first – Would I actually be able to tell the difference between mattresses? What’s the big deal about the pillow top? – but I got into it. I did actually notice a difference between mattresses, and some were easy to take out of the running (e.g., too soft, too hard).White-Cabana-Sleep-Country-9

White-Cabana-Sleep-Country-11

I narrowed down my options to two – a Kingsdown and a Serta. In the end, I opted for the Serta (shown in the two photos above), and I was hoping that it would be just right! (As I’m writing this, it seems that I’ve turned into Goldilocks.) I honestly think I would have been happy with either the Kingsdown or the Serta, but the Serta was slightly more firm, which I liked.

White-Cabana-Sleep-Country-10

here I am learning about the coils (coils, coils, coils) and the details of the Serta mattress set; it’s a pillow top mattress, by the way

Still a bit nervous, I was told about Sleep Country’s amazing sleep country guarantee. If I don’t like the mattress, I can actually exchange it for another one. Isn’t that amazing? It’s a win-win situation if you ask me!

White-Cabana-Sleep-Country-7 My mattress arrived this past Saturday, and I’m sleeping soundly so far. It did take a couple of nights to adjust to it, which I think is completely normal. I think I’m happy with it, but it’s also comforting to know about the comfort guarantee.

Tell me, dear readers, have you bought a mattress recently? How’d you do it? What features did you look for?

Thanks, ES, for your help!

Food: Langdon Hall’s Terroir Noir

Yes, yes, I’m back with more news from Langdon Hall. I could easily start a regular Langdon Hall series on White Cabana. The place is amazing, and I’ve recently been calling it My Langdon Hall. Yes, I am totally biased and also completely smitten by the place.

Anyhoo – a few months ago, the team at Langdon Hall invited me to interview Executive Chef Jason Bangerter and Pastry Chef Rachel Nicholson. An interview, I asked? About what? Chocolate! Tough gig, I know.

You see, Langdon Hall decided that they should have their own signature chocolate (as if the place wasn’t special enough), and they wanted some help to get their story out.

You may have seen this post on Instagram recently if you follow me or @LangdonHall or @LangdonHallChef:

Langdon-Hall-Terroir-Noir

via @LangdonHallChef

You see those words right there? Yeah, I wrote them (with some edits from LH)! So cool! Since that paragraph only provides a glimpse into LH’s chocolate, I was given permission to share the full story here on my blog. Read on if you’d like to learn more about how this chocolate came to be.

***

Making of Langdon Hall’s Signature Chocolate: The Beginning
Jordana Garbati

Being whisked away to France on a highly unique chocolate mission seems like an incredible experience to add to one’s bucket list. For Langdon Hall’s Executive Chef Jason Bangerter and pasty chef Rachel Nicholson, this experience turned from dream to reality in February.

Jason and Rachel were invited to Cacao Barry’s prestigious Or Noir in Paris to develop a signature chocolate recipe for Langdon Hall. Only a few Canadian chefs, and only about 200 chefs around the world, have developed a signature chocolate recipe! Armed with a few goals in mind and a clear idea of the flavours the chefs wanted to include in Langdon Hall’s future house chocolate, the duo zipped off to Paris for a three-day chocolate adventure.

At Or Noir, Jason and Rachel were confronted with cacao beans from around the world and wasted no time working with Or Noir’s highly-qualified team to begin the process of developing Langdon Hall’s distinct chocolate.

Chef Jason wanted to ensure that Langdon Hall’s philosophy was well represented in its chocolate. He wanted the chocolate to instill ideas of the land, smokiness (we all know about Langdon Hall’s divine fireplaces), warmth, and tradition. Chef Rachel was on the same page and wanted to ensure that the final chocolate recipe would not only work beautifully on its own, but also become that more memorable when transformed into a chocolate ganache or pain au chocolat.

Chefs-Or-Noir-Langdon_hall

 Chefs Jason and Rachel and the French team at Or Noir

The chefs went through Or Noir’s chocolate recipe development process whereby they explained their desired taste profile, explored cacao pastes from around the world, blended flavours, and tasted multiple production samples.

After a few gruelling days in the Parisian chocolate laboratory (as much as crafting a chocolate recipe can be gruelling), the chefs settled on the perfect recipes for dark and milk chocolate that are set to impress.

Terroir-Noir-Langdon-Hall

Langdon Hall chocolate samples – some of the first pieces Langdon Hall’s dark and milk chocolates – ready for a taste test

The dark chocolate has an ideal amount of bitterness. It’s great paired simply with an after-dinner espresso, and it is sure to increase the quality of Langdon’s popular chocolate-filled pastries and desserts. The flavour lingers on the tongue and is of beautiful texture and consistency. The milk chocolate is as creamy and shiny as you would want it to be, and it is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Both chocolate recipes are as distinguished as Langdon Hall, they embody luxurious hospitality as much as a chocolate could, and they are yet one more piece that will raise guests’ experiences to another notable level. Jason-Rachel-Langdon-Hall-TerroirNoir

Executive Chef Jason Bangerter and Pastry Chef Rachel Nicholson with the first chocolate production at Langdon Hall

For chefs Jason and Rachel, the signature chocolate brings prestige and innovation. The creation of the Langdon Hall chocolate brings outside-the-box thinking and creativity. This addition to the existing repertoire of phenomenal recipes will entice new and returning guests to visit Langdon Hall to experience its inimitable chocolate.

After the recipe was created in February, the chocolate went into production in France. Since the arrival of the first shipment of chocolate, the chefs have been busy in their kitchen creating new decadent recipes.

On April 25th, Executive Chef Jason Bangerter will travel to the Art Gallery of Ontario to launch Langdon Hall’s chocolate and its top-secret name at the Terroir Symposium, which is an event that brings together top chefs, sommeliers, and artists with the goal to promote innovation, collaboration, and creativity in the field of hospitality. Industry leaders will no doubt be enthralled by the story of how Langdon Hall’s chocolate came to be and I challenge them to stop at just one bite.

***

I should say that Chef Jason did make sure I had my fair share of chocolate during the interview (Thanks, Jason.) I preferred the dark, but the milk was so darn smooth. I know, such a tough gig. Hanging out at Langdon Hall eating chocolate – life. is. good.

p.s. In recent news, did you see that Drake went to Langdon, too? Cool.

Drake-Langdon-Hall-ChampagnePapi

via @ChampagnePapi, photo by @CaitCronenberg

 

Travel: The Omni King Edward Hotel in Toronto

Now that you’ve seen how my friend and I spent 28 hours in Toronto, I’d like to share some more detailed news about our reunion trip, and I’ll start with our hotel.

I booked us in for a night at The Omni King Edward Hotel (aka the King Eddy) at the south end of the city. Although I had never been to the King Eddy, I knew of its reputation of one of the top hotels in Toronto, so I was easily convinced that we should try it out. I’m happy to say that the hotel and its services did not disappoint (That’s the short version of the review. If you’d like to know more, read on!).

We checked into the King Eddy a little later than anticipated because we were having so much fun on our casual shopping at Bloor/Yorkville. Both my friend and I were excited to check in and plop on our beds for a bit of a rest before dinner.

White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-4

The King Eddy impresses right from the entrance. Valet parking is available as is a park-your-own-car public parking lot about a block away. Once inside, the grand lobby awaits your attention. The architectural details in the lobby – moldings, railings, ceilings – are full of history. The hotel recently completed a $40 million renovation (forty!), and the lobby is a reflection of that. The furniture is modern and elegant, and the design theme of the hotel (chess, crowns, grandeur) is set right at the front door.

White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-14 White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-13

I’m honestly always a tad cautious when I check into fancy hotels. I’m usually curious to know if the place is pretentious or welcoming. Luckily, the check-in staff at the King Eddy was very friendly (Hi D!) and was able to engage in an informal conversation while maintaining his professionalism and sense of hospitality. I am a very particular customer, so I pay attention to just about every detail of an experience (so tough, I am!).

We took the elevator up to our room, and when we opened the door, we were in awe. The room was large. The suite – yes, it was a suite – had a bedroom with two queen beds, dresser, TV, and closet (with robes and slippers, I must add); a living area with a couch, coffee table, arm chair, desk area, and dining/chess table, console and TV (why have one when you can have two?); and a bathroom with gorgeous marble and plush towels. The three large closets in the suite were more than we needed, but we used them (just because we could!). We also put our luggage racks to use, and I set up the chess board just in case we wanted to play.

White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-6

White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-1 White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-4 White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-3

Shortly after we arrived, D (from check-in) called to make sure we were happy with our suite. Happy? Of course! When I jokingly asked what the heck we were supposed to do with all the space, D said that the living area is a great place for thinking! Oh, amusing! It was then that I had regretted not booking us in for a 2-night stay! (In the end, we used the living area for magazine reading…and some thinking, too!)

Shortly after we threw on our King Eddy slippers, a server knocked on our door and ushered in plates of treats. What a delightful surprise! Shannon and I had the perfect afternoon snack (scones, tea, and Niagara’s Greaves jam) by the window. Details, people, I love these thoughtful details!

White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-10

The beds in our suite were as comfy as you’d expect from a 5-star hotel, and there were plenty of pillows for added comfort. The black-our curtains darkened the room and added to our restful sleep.

White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-8

White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-11 White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-12

The bathroom, oh, yes, the bathroom. The shower was my favourite part because it was large, had amazing pressure, and a couple of shower heads…you know, because one might not be enough. There wasn’t a tub in our room, but maybe some rooms have one.

White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-5

White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-9

I also wandered around this historic hotel to see what it had to offer outside of our gorgeous suite. I can definitely see why the King Eddy is a hot-spot for parties, weddings, and every sort of event. The venue has beautiful spaces that can be reconfigured to suit various events. The art and architecture serve as beautiful backdrops for photos, and the recurring design themes of chess, elegance, and royalty are consistent throughout the property.

White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-15

White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-17

White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-26 White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-25 White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-24 White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-23 White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-22 White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-21 White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-20 White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-19 White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-18 The King Eddy also houses a spa and multiple dining options. Unfortunately, we ran out of time to try either, but this just means that I’ll have to make a return trip!

White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-16

Check out the rooms and rates at The Omni King Edward Hotel if you’re planning a visit to Toronto and would like to be surrounded by luxury!

Thanks to The Omni King Edward Hotel for sponsoring our stay. All opinions and photographs are mine.

Travel: 28 Hours in Toronto

What do you do when your friend (in Ottawa) texts you (in Waterloo) on a Monday, and asks what you’re doing on the weekend? First, you ask her if we’re going to Nashville (that’s a story for another day). When she laughs at you, you ask her what she has in mind, and she asks you if you’d be interested in a Toronto meet-up, you obviously say yes!

Heck ya!

Considering the couple of crazy weeks my friend Shannon and I have had recently, a girls reunion weekend in the city is just what we knew we needed to make us both feel more energized!

After we confirmed that we were both available for a weekend away, I quickly got to work, contacted a few people, and started planning some girly fun for us. Today, I’m sharing our itinerary, and in the days ahead, I’ll share some specific reviews of what we did/where we stayed/what we ate.

Please join me as I take you through a 28-hour stay in Toronto.

Saturday

9am – I left Waterloo quite early in the morning, as I find Toronto traffic and parking to be unpredictable. It only takes an hour (in theory) to get to the city, but I often give myself two hours to get to the heart of downtown. I put my TomTom to use, of course, as I like knowing about the alternate route options if I run into traffic.

White-Cabana-Toronto-2

11am – As my friend Shannon and I were coming from opposite directions, we opted to meet at our first stop of the day – the Windsor Arms Spa. Yes! What a perfect spot to meet. Since I arrived a bit early, I was able to nibble on some cookies and drink a tea before our spa experience – the Salt Cave.

White-Cabana-Toronto-1 White-Cabana-Toronto-3

11:30am – Shannon and I met with our spa hostess. She led us around the spa space and told us about the halotherapy treatment in the Salt Cave. We changed into our bathing suits, threw on our plush robes, and headed in the Salt Cave for 45 minutes of relaxation.

White-Cabana-Windsor-Arms-1

We left the Cave feeling refreshed and calm.

Version 2

1:30pm (ish) – After showering and primping at the Windsor Arms Spa, we headed to La Société for lunch. I’ve read a bit about this restaurant, but I had never been. Since we dubbed this weekend a #weekendofluxury, we figured that La Société fit our itinerary. It is where celebrities go after all (we didn’t see any).

White-Cabana-La-Societe-1

Version 2

We opted to share the eggs benedict (with a side of salmon) and the pain perdu (French toast) with Nutella. This way, we got to try a bit of everything. This is what happens when you travel with your BFFs, you get to share the goodness! We had a very friendly server at La Société who was quite attentive and helpful with recommendations.

White-Cabana-La-Societe-3

time unknown – after lunch, we wandered in and out of stores around Bloor/Yorkville. The area is a gem for people watching, and to see what’s what in fashion, design, and luxury. While I have just about everything I need in Waterloo, when I’m in Toronto, I always like to see what’s going on at Club Monaco and Anthropologie, so we made it a priority to check out these stores…along with the prettiest of pretty, Kate Spade (so pretty!).

White-Cabana-Toronto-Shopping-1

White-Cabana-Toronto-Shopping-2

5pm (ish) – After a couple of hours of shopping, walking, taking ridiculous photos, and being so happy because of the amazing spring weather, we hopped back in the car, and headed to our hotel (TomTom was put to work again, naturally).

It was great to spend the morning/afternoon in the Bloor/Yorkville area, but I was looking forward to seeing another part of the city while we were in town. Although I grew up in the ‘burbs of the city, I haven’t spent extended periods of time downtown in a long while, and there’s just so much to see and do and discover!

We drove south to King/Church to The Omni King Edward Hotel (affectionately called the King Eddy), and after we parked (I must say that parking in the two areas was completely easy on this trip! Bonus!), we checked in. We were greeted by a friendly staff member (Hi D!), and we had a good chat about why/how I blog only about white things (it does amuse a lot of people, I must say).

White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-1

At this point in our day, Shannon and I were were so eager to just lie on the beds for a while since we had done so much walking in the afternoon. Our reactions when we saw our room were priceless. We basically danced around the spacious suite, then flopped ourselves down on the beds (more on The Omni King Edward Hotel later this week).

White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-4

time unknown – We were pleasantly surprised by a visit from an Omni King Edward staff member who arrived with scones and biscuits in tow (I wish this could happen every day!). It was just the type of snack we needed! We pulled our seats up to the table by the window and had a little bite to eat.

White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-3

White-Cabana-Omni-King-Edward-2

9pm (ish) – Earlier in the day, we had made a dinner reservation at one of our favourite restaurants – Terroni. It serves up delicious Italian fare, and since I could basically live on pizza and pasta for the rest of my life (hello carbs!), I was happy that Terroni had an open table for two for us. The Terroni Adelaide location was a three minute walk from our hotel, so it could not have been more convenient! It was the perfect spot for a lazy girls’ weekend! We walked over and spent the next couple of hours feasting.

Version 2

11pm – After dinner, we strolled back to The Omni King Edward Hotel, threw on our pjs (and hotel robes!), and watched some TV while we talked and laughed about all that we had experienced in the day.

midnight (ish) – We must have fallen asleep to the sounds of HGTV on the television at some point around midnight. Yes, yes, we’re very wild.

Sunday

7am – I really try to sleep in (especially on weekends), but I can’t! It’s ridiculously annoying. After a great sleep in a comfy bed with lots of comfy pillows, I woke up a tad annoyed at the fact that it was only 7am. I grabbed a few magazines and enjoyed reading them in the living space in our suite.

10am (ish) – After a lazy morning of chatter, an amusing photo shoot (to come later this week), magazine reading, and getting ready, we walked south toward St. Lawrence Market for breakfast. Again, I hadn’t realized how close the King Eddy is to so many great spots in the city. The St. Lawrence market area must have been only a six minute walk from the hotel, and Toronto’s flat iron building provides a perfect photo op. Easy! We chose to have breakfast at Hank’s because I had been there once before, and I had liked it (thanks for the intro to Hank’s, Sarah M.!) We enjoyed a classic breakfast, then set off on another adventure.

Version 2

White-Cabana-Toronto-5

noon (ish) – We had decided that our #weekendofluxury #WhiteCabanaTorontoReunion should include manicures, so we walked north to Queen West area (a pleasant 20 minute or so walk) as we were hoping to get into Civello salon. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get last-minute appointments, but the staff member recommended a nail salon a couple blocks away, so we went there.

White-Cabana-Toronto-7

2pm (ish) – With our bright shiny nails, we walked back to the car (which I had left in the parking lot by the King Eddy) in the sunshine, and laughed some more as we thought about all the adventures we have been on together in the last 10+ years.

Version 2

3pm (ish) – At this point, our fun weekend reunion came to an end. After dropping Shannon off at Union Station, I drove back to Waterloo. We returned to our homes (and to reality) after a fun and fulfilling reunion weekend!

That’s how my friend Shannon and I spent our 28 hours in Toronto last weekend. I have a few more updates to share about this trip, so stay tuned for more posts this week!

Many thanks to the Windsor Arms Spa and The Omni King Edward Hotel for helping me plan this trip.

The Friday Five: Art at Citizen Atelier

I have featured Canadian-curator Alessandra Salituri’s Citizen Atelier several times here because Alessandra carries such an interesting collection of art in her online shop. It’s also been interesting to see how Citizen Atelier has grown over the years. The current shop has its pieces organized by limited editions, originals, and prints, and I’m using this same categorization to share my top five picks from the current collection (all prices are in CAD).

Limited Editions

hippodance

Hippodance by Darius Klimczak, $395+

silk

Silk by Ashley Woodson Bailey, $140+

Originals

moontower-e1408125561721

Moontower by Jenny Andrews Anderson, $625

Prints

vanessa_paxton_ballerina_01

Ballerina I by Vanessa Paxton, $120 (I featured this one before, and I still love it.)

he_lion

HE lion by Francesco Formisano, $60+

Have a wonderful weekend, dear readers!

 

Marketplace: Chair Table Lamp in Cambridge, Ontario

You likely already know that I have really enjoyed my move to the Waterloo region. For a relatively small region, it has so much to offer, and the people I have met and the places that I’ve been to continue to impress me. A couple of months ago, I visited Chair Table Lamp in Cambridge after seeing a cool photo of the store from Rox-Anne, and I was in furniture heaven.

I was in awe as I stepped in the massive space. Owner Terry was ridiculously knowledgeable about everything antique, and we had a delightful conversation about furniture, design, and travel. On a subsequent visit, I met co-owner Katie who was equally enthusiastic about all things furniture! I really enjoy meeting people who are so passionate about what they do.

The inventory at Chair Table Lamp is incredible. There’s honestly something for every design lover – from art deco chairs to gorgeous Chinoiserie pieces to mid-century modern dining sets to gorgeous French armoires. Honestly. This place is a treasure! (I adore this piece and this one, too). You’re not going to find garage sale prices here, but you will find fair prices for the uniqueness and quality of the pieces.

Amongst the black credenzas and the wood dining sets, I spotted quite a bit of white (mostly newly painted), so here’s a tour of Chair Table Lamp through this white-lover’s lens…

White-Cabana-Chair-Table-Lamp-3 White-Cabana-Chair-Table-Lamp-10 White-Cabana-Chair-Table-Lamp-1 White-Cabana-Chair-Table-Lamp-2 White-Cabana-Chair-Table-Lamp-8 White-Cabana-Chair-Table-Lamp-7 White-Cabana-Chair-Table-Lamp-6 White-Cabana-Chair-Table-Lamp-9 White-Cabana-Chair-Table-Lamp-5 White-Cabana-Chair-Table-Lamp-4 You can see more inventory on the Chair Table Lamp Instagram account and on the Chair Table Lamp website.

Design: NewWall Wallpaper Designs

My friend Tim works so well with wallpaper*. Christine does, too**. Me, on the other hand? Not so much.

I was basically traumatized when I moved into my own home 2.5 years ago, and I had to spend hours (and hours and hours) peeling off old wallpaper from my bathroom walls. It was absolutely a big pain in my arse.

And then there’s the ol’ commitment issue. If I install wallpaper, that would mean I’d have to commit to it. For a long while. Yikes!

So, why, you may ask, am I writing about wallpaper today? Well, let me tell you! While I do not like paper in my own home, I am definitely impressed by the art of wallpaper. There are so many beautiful prints out there that put a smile on my face, that make me curious, that make me contemplate wallpaper’s uses, and that demonstrate people’s creativity. It’s amazing, really.

When I came across NewWall’s Holden anchor print, I needed to have it. I’m going to turn it into a non-permanent work of art for my parents’ condo in Florida, and it’s going to look fabulous up on the wall. Holden is from NewWall‘s Abnormals Anonymous collection, and it’s such an amusing collection, that I thought I’d share it here.

Bruce_men_in_blackBruce – Men in Black

Buggie_men_in_black1

Buggie – Men in Black

ernest_gulfstream

Ernest – Gulfstream

Gossip_men_in_black1

Gossip – Men in Black

MrBlow_bone_thugs_harmony

Mr. Blow – Bone Thugs & Harmony

wheeloffortune_concretejungle1

Wheel of Fortune – Concrete Jungle

I’m also surprisingly keen on the vibrant Lobby – Red Pepper lobster pattern. If I lived on the east coast, I would just have to put this in a sweet powder room.

If you’re interested in seeing more cool wallpaper patterns, I encourage you to check out NewWall.

*See Tim‘s recent feature in Style at Home magazine.
**Peak inside Christine’s office.

Event: What’s Happening These Days in Kitchener-Waterloo

Anytime is a good time to visit (or move to!) the Waterloo region (see my Design*Sponge Waterloo city guide here), but Christmas time is especially charming. The streets and stores are decorated, and it seems to me that the people around town are happier than their usually happy selves.

Here is some of what is going on in the next few weeks in the region. If you know of any other events, please add them in the comments!

What: Tree trimming party
Where: Langdon Hall
When: Nov. 25th (tonight!)
Cost: Bring an ornament for the tree at Langdon Hall, then enjoy a drink and music. Learn more about Langdon Hall’s tree trimming event here.

Printphoto

What: Christkindl Market – At this traditionally German market in downtown Kitchener, you’ll find wooden German ornaments, delicious treats, and plenty of Glühwein.
Where: Downtown Kitchener – City Hall
When: The market is on from December 3rd to 6th.
Cost: free to attend

Christkindl-photophoto

What: The Grand Philharmonic Choir’s performance of Handel’s Messiah
When: Dec. 12th, 7:30pm
Where: Centre in the Square
Cost: regular tickets $24-$74, tickets can be purchased here

MESSIAH_480x330photo

What: The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony’s Yuletide Spectacular
When: Dec. 18-20, various performances
Where: Centre in the Square
Cost: regular tickets $19 and up, tickets can be purchased here

pops3-450x450photo

What: Christmas at Castle Kilbride – Marvel at the gorgeous Victorian decor at Castle Kilbride. Go for a tour or enjoy an apple cider and entertainment at a Merry Victorian Christmas
When: now until Jan. 3
Where: Castle Kilbride – Baden, Ontario
Cost: tours – adults $6.50 (see more here)

D8E_5398photo

Marketplace: Sabri Studio

If you’re already shopping around for Christmas gifts, I’d like to suggest you have a look at Toronto-based blogger Fatima Sabri’s new shop. Fatima and I met a few years ago through blogger events, and last year Fatima wrote a guest post right here on White Cabana (read this).

I’m happy to see Fatima’s launch of Sabri Studio, an online shop featuring her photographs and stationery collection (including the ever-so-needed agenda book!).

24palm trees art, from $29.99

16palm tree notepad, $9.99

19don’t forget notepad, $9.99 (this was made for people like me!)

17kiss kiss notepad, $9.99

Check out the full collection of art and stationery at Sabri Studio. If you see something you like, now is the time to get it, since White Cabana readers get 10% off (enter the code whitecabana10). This discount deal ends at midnight on November 22nd.

Images courtesy of Sabri Studio.

20 Below: Style at Home November Issue

Today’s 20 Below item is really an exciting one!

1115_Cover [Print];30_View.inddStyle at Home, $5.99

The Style at Home November 2015 issue has a beautiful white cover featuring a tablescape by blogger Monika Hibbs. Not only that, but it features design work by my fellow design-savvy bloggers: Tim (Design Maze), Jen (Rambling Reno), and Christine (Bijou & Boheme). Each of them styled a holiday scene, and their styles are very distinct.

This issue also highlights Sarah’s (The Curated House) beautiful laundry room (a reno that was completed in only 6 weeks) and some gorgeous homes across the country.

Honestly, folks, it’s a good issue!

The Friday Five: PM Lotto Oakville Showhome + Brunch with Brian Gluckstein

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to go on a tour of the Princess Margaret Lotto Oakville Showhome. As Canadian readers may already know, the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre’s Welcome Home Sweepstakes is a huge fundraising event with incredible prizes to be won. Tickets are $100 each, $250 for 3, or $375 for 5. Each year, many local residents, Princess Margaret supporters, and the generally curious crowd anticipate the reveal of Oakville Showhome. The home is always in an exclusive Oakville neighbourhood (Oakville is about 30 minutes from Toronto, for the non-local readers of this blog), it includes top-of-the line electronics/appliances/gadgets, and it is designed by one of my all-time favourite Canadian designers, Mr. Brian Gluckstein.

For the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to preview the home, and each year, I’m blown away. This year was no exception. Mr. Gluckstein – or Brian, as I like to call him (um, first name basis with Brian!? Crazy!) – and his team worked magic once again. The house is beautiful. Rooms include traditional lines, soothing colour stories, beautiful artwork and objets, and a few surprises thrown into the mix as well.

I know I’m a day late with this week’s Friday Five, but here are five things that I learned about this year’s Princess Margaret Oakville Showhome:

1. A white bedroom is always in style, and when it includes a gorgeous lucite table, it becomes a little more special.

White-Cabana-PMLotto-Gluckstein-1810 pillows – how many do you have on your bed? (I have 5)White-Cabana-PMLotto-Gluckstein-17seating area with lucite coffee table in the master bedroom

2. Art is essential. Brian’s designs always include some stunning pieces. Here are some of the ones that caught my eye.

White-Cabana-PMLotto-Gluckstein-12art in the kitchen

White-Cabana-PMLotto-Gluckstein-6art beside the massage room (see #3)

White-Cabana-PMLotto-Gluckstein-5art in the hallway

3. A massage room is a ridiculously luxurious room to have in a home. I have never had a massage myself, but if I had a room for it, you can bet I’d be taking advantage of it! I adored the fully-lined walls in this space. The wall curtains are made of terrycloth fabric, and Brian told me that it was only around $3 a yard. Adding texture to the wall in this way is brilliant, in my opinion.

White-Cabana-PMLotto-Gluckstein-10the massage room

White-Cabana-PMLotto-Gluckstein-84. Brian makes interesting lighting selections for the Oakville Showhome each year. This year, three pieces caught my attention. First – the kitchen light was formerly black and brass, but Brian (or his people) sprayed in white. Yes! Second – the light in one of the bedrooms had a pretty scallop which made it a pretty addition to the already-delicate room. Third – the chandeliers that lined the entrance hall are light and airy. Floating cubes of goodness, really.

White-Cabana-PMLotto-Gluckstein-11white pendant in the kitchen

White-Cabana-PMLotto-Gluckstein-13scalloped light in a bedroom

White-Cabana-PMLotto-Gluckstein-3airy chandelier in the entrance hall

5. I am the first to admit that wallpaper makes me nervous. I much prefer plain walls and art work to wallpaper. I’m pretty sure it’s because I was traumatized by the 80s wallpaper chaos that I had to deal with in my own home. The wallpaper designs that were included in some of the bathrooms in the Showhome, however, caught my attention.

In the jack-and-jill bathroom, the wallpaper is whimsical yet serene.

White-Cabana-PMLotto-Gluckstein-14Hi there!

The blossoming wallpaper in the master bathroom creates a cozy nook around the stand-alone bathtub.

White-Cabana-PMLotto-Gluckstein-21  White-Cabana-PMLotto-Gluckstein-19 White-Cabana-PMLotto-Gluckstein-20Bonus: Since it’s Saturday, I’m going to make the executive decision to add one more item to today’s list. I could not leave the living room out of today’s Showhome recap because it is such a magnificent space. The oversized windows mean that light fills the room, the walls are a beautiful tone of grey, and the furniture placement (in true Brian fashion) is symmetrical. This room also includes a mirrored coffee table with a perfectly-arranged collection of silver boxes and luxurious drapery to match the wall colour.

White-Cabana-PMLotto-Gluckstein-1White-Cabana-PMLotto-Gluckstein-23  White-Cabana-PMLotto-Gluckstein-2There you have it – five six things I adore about this year’s Princess Margaret Oakville Showhome designed by Brian Gluckstein. The golf room and library fascinated me, too!

Photos by Jordana. For more photos of the preview event, check out #BrunchWithBrian on Instagram and Twitter. You can’t win this house if you don’t buy a ticket – tickets can be purchased here.

The Friday Five: On Sale at Elte, Toronto

Elte, one of Toronto’s finest furniture stores, is currently having a summer sale. I bought my Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams couch from Elte, and if I lived in Toronto, I’m sure I would be popping in quite often. The prices at Elte are typically high, but so is the quality of the pieces. If you’re in the market for something fabulous, you might want to check out the sale. Here are my five pics from the sale (although I’d snap up every Kartell chair if I could!).

chair-kartell-lizz-elte-saleKartell Lizz Side Chair, $206 (originally $406; also available in black)

vase-white-gold-eltegold mid glaze bud vase, $17.97 (originally $29.95)

Ojai-sconce-Elte-saleOjai sconce, $215 (originally $365)

moroccan-wedding-pouf-elte-saleMoroccan wedding pouf, $238 (originally $595)

ceramic-stool-lattice-elte-saleceramic lattice stool, $120 (originally $195)

If you’re in Toronto and you go to the sale, let me know!

Travel: My Waterloo City Guide on Design*Sponge

Another blogging/writing/publishing dream came true for me a couple of weeks ago, and I’m so excited to share it with all of you.

I have been reading Design*Sponge since its creator, Grace Bonney, began publishing posts 10 years ago. Ten! She has been such a leader in the blogging world, and like many of her readers, I find so much inspiration on the pages of her blog (and her book, interviews, etc.).

DesignSponge-headerOne of my most favourite areas on Design*Sponge is the city guide section. These guides are written by travel enthusiasts who want to share the top-of-the-top that their cities have to offer.  In the past, I have used the Paris guide, the New Orleans guide, the Tampa guide, the Pittsburgh guide, the Dallas guide, the Halifax guide, and, most recently, the Orlando 24-hour guide. I totally put my trust into these guides, and they have yet to let me down!

DS-4Well, a few months ago, I wrote and submitted a Waterloo region guide for Design*Sponge, and it was published last Tuesday! (Insert shrieks and jumps for joy!) You can read my Waterloo guide right here. I am so proud of this article. I moved to Waterloo two years ago, and I have enjoyed living here ever since. I was very excited to share news of the region with Design*Sponge readers.

waterloo_cityguidetemplateI was beyond excited to see that Grace shared my article on Twitter and favourited related tweets, too. Eeek!

DS-2     DS-1Thanks to those of you who have read my Waterloo city guide and for those who have added their favourite spots in the comment section, too.

Celebration: Happy Canada Day!

Spreading some love for Canada today!

3ACanada Tee, Joe Fresh

3A-1Canada hoodie, Joe Fresh

large-tote-IMG_6966_530473d6-1940-48b1-9bf6-b722c081e184_largeProvince of Canada everything tote

Tank-White-Gold-IMG_9424_44627da6-ca03-4511-8ff9-3bdefe80d625_largeProvince of Canada tank

canada_mason_mug_webCanada mason jar mug, Drake General Store

maple_syrup_new_labelCanadian maple syrup, Drake General Storecanada-baseball-cap

Canada baseball cap, Hudson’s Bay

I’m wishing all my Canadian readers a very Happy Canada Day!

Travel: Langdon Hall in Cambridge, Ontario – Part II

Yesterday, I took you on a tour of Langdon Hall’s interiors, showcasing the delicious breakfast I enjoyed and the details in the guest rooms. Today, I’m taking your outdoors. Let’s go!

White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-6White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-5Rox-Anne and I enjoyed a tour of the garden with Mario, Langdon Hall’s head gardener. It was an impressive tour because Mario knows everything about everything in the garden, and his passion for his work really shines. Mario showed us how plants are thoughtfully arranged in order to maximize sight lines, use, and growth.

White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-3here, Mario is telling us about how he and his team purposefully left space between the plants so that air could circulate around themWhite-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-9here, Mario is teaching us about sight lines and layering techniques; he thins out the grassy water plants so that the view beyond is not hiddenWhite-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-2the climbing hydrangea in this section of the garden is so pretty

The garden tour happens every Saturday at 10:30am for Langdon Hall guests. I know it’s easy to sleep in and linger over breakfast, but the tour is really fascinating, and I’d definitely encourage guests to take it. I honestly felt like I was in a Martha Stewart magazine as we walked through the various gardens.

White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-7   White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-4Now, I know Langdon Hall guests are meant to be professional and poised…

White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-1 White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-8 White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-13 White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-11but I couldn’t resist going back to my jumping roots in the presence of such incredible backdrops. It only took two tries to get the photo below (thanks, Rox-Anne!).

White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-10I hope you enjoyed the two-day tour of Langdon Hall. Do let me know if you plan to visit (or if you already have visited).

See Rox-Anne’s photos and review here.

Thanks to Kate M. for showing us around Langdon Hall. Photos by Jordana unless otherwise indicated.

Event: Pottery Class at Inspirations Studio

Recently, I was invited back to Inspirations Studio in Toronto to take part in a pottery class with a group of my blogging colleagues (hi Renée, Brittany, Shannon, Amy). It was so fun! You may remember that last year, I designed a collection of pottery that was sold at BlogPodium. This time, though, it was my turn to get behind the wheel. Oh my goodness. I made a mess! And it was fun!

The afternoon began with a pro-potter giving us step-by-step instructions on how to throw the clay and form it into a small bowl using the wheel.

White-Cabana-pottery-2In just a few minutes, she made this perfectly formed bowl:

White-Cabana-pottery-3I made several attempts, but couldn’t quite get a symmetrical bowl. A little wonky bowl is a conversational piece, though, right? We also had the chance to roll out the clay and use different materials to imprint patterns on our pieces. I made a tray and rolled a piece of lace over it to create some texture.

White-Cabana-pottery-1Our pieces should be ready soon, and I’ll be sure to show you how they look post-firing. For now, here are a couple more photos from around the studio.White-Cabana-pottery-4 White-Cabana-pottery-5If you’re in Toronto and would like to have your own pottery experience, you might want to register for classes at Inspirations Studio.

Thanks to Lindsey T. and the team at Inspirations Studio for organizing a wonderful afternoon of pottery!

1 2 3 4